I remember back in the 90s when using Windows 3.1 and “multimedia” meant sound and graphics. Now, with substantial upgrades, that definition has changed. Just about everything today that categorizes a “multimedia experience” is video and audio — but not those 200kb WAVs you used to play (and complained that they were taking up too much space on your 1GB hard drive). Our online world has changed in the last decade to something much greater: online television and radio — and then some.
I am the kind of girl who likes novelty: AOL was a favorite of mine when Tom Clancy chatted in the Lobby among normal people (the service cost $5.95/hour back then). I had my father buy a 2GB hard drive for nearly $400 back in the day to store more .wav files. I caught onto MP3s before the Napster era. I enjoyed online video — about two years ago.
Suffice to say, except for MP3s on an occasional basis, I’m really not using the computer anymore for these intensive multimedia experiences. When I was into video, I’d only watch a small percentage on-demand; the others, I’d save on my computer with the intention to “watch later.” Later still hasn’t come.
A lot of the thought behind delaying the multimedia experience is that I personally feel that despite the novelty somewhat wearing off, I’m not ready for full immersion. In fact, my sound is muted on my computers 99.8% of the time. I realize that my computer is more of a tool of productivity, and I define my productivity by being communicative in the written word, by problem solving, by doing — not by watching or by listening. Consequently, video, audio, and all those bells and whistles that require more attention are on the backburner, simply because I don’t have time for it. As the saying goes, there’s “so much to do, so little time.”
The generation that embraces video is considered a high school and college-aged crowd. In the last two years, video has grown as we know it. Still, I can’t help but wonder: will it last? Are we ready for the huge changes to Digg, giving the site more video-centric exposure?
I’m not really sure if the same people who visit Digg’s video section and YouTube today are going to be the same people who visit the site in a year or so. A college student who gets a job might not have the freedom to visit YouTube anymore. Priorities change.
I also don’t see couch potatoes preferring the computer over a TV anytime soon.
From a personal standpoint, it becomes an issue of making time for everything I want to accomplish in one day. I’d love to squeeze video surfing there too, and even podcasts. I think we can all admit that this is impossible to do from a multitasking perspective. Video (and especially lengthy podcasts) require undivided attention. I simply don’t have it.
I like what Kim Krause Berg wrote today about the customer experience of podcasts and the inability to for search engines to access this information because they are not transcribed. It’s not really only for search engines, though. It’s for users like me who cannot take too much time out of their day to experience every interesting podcast at full length. I’d very much prefer to read at my own time and at my own pace. While video and podcasts allow that too, they take longer and it’s not as easy to stop and start the podcasts or videos all over again. (Oops, what if I pressed Rewind by accident?)
I don’t think I’m alone. Our lives are polluted with technology overload. And still, new innovative technology advances are trickling in, only to make it more difficult for us to determine what we really ultimately are looking for.