Media Looking for high quality content

Cultural Literacy and Commercials

I’ve started watching advertising again AND I own a TIVO.

“Rands,” you say, “isn’t the whole point of owning a DVR to get rid of those pesky commercials?”

“No,” I respond, “it’s about watching what I want, when I want to. I like commercials.”

“Rands,” you reply, “Did you say you LIKE COMMERCIALS?”

This all started a few weeks back when I started watching Jackass as well as a other MTV-related content. I’ve got the Tivo set-up with the wicked-cool 30 second jump and I am the master. Bling. Bling. Bling. POOF. No commercials and I’m back to Steve-O snorting worms.

Every so often, I’m slow on the uptake and I get a second or two of commercials after whatever show I’m watching. Normally, I just blow through the commercials, but when it came to MTV content, I found that I was watching the commercials. WHAT IN THE? YOU MINDLESS DRONE RANDS.

Calm down, take a deep breath.

There are two basic networks from where you derive new content. The first is your credibility network. A trusted group of people/things that prefilter the world for you. You like this network because the content it generates is, usually, of high quality meaning “it interests you”. This is why this person/place/thing is in your network, they have passed your personal “THIS IS RELEVANT” test.

Clearly, credibility networks aren’t just your weblog_friends and real_friends, they’re also the TV channels you watch… the stores you visit at the mall… the restaurants you like… the magazines you buy.

The second network you gather information from is, well, EVERYTHING ELSE ON THE PLANET. This is when you leave your credibility network… your comfort zone… and decide to try something else for a change. A good simple example of this might be channel surfing. Nothing else is on your regular channels, so you just start wandering. YES THAT’S THE HOME CHANNEL. I’M EXPANDING MY HORIZONS. SHUT UP.

My MTV commercial watching is just that… targeted info_wandering. Granted, it’s wandering in a place which is designed for my particular brain, a brain which instantly succumbs Christina Aguilera-like midriffs and whatnot. I don’t tend to watch a lot of the commercials on the Disney channel because I’M NOT SEVEN.

A good follow-up question might be, what am I looking for when I’m searching? Obviously, I’m looking for new high-bandwidth, high quality nodes for my credibility network. Some unexpected show/person/channel/place that is going to bring me more content for my information craving brain.

The better follow-up question is, why do I search? Why do I leave my comfortable atoll of high content, high bandwidth nodes in search of potentially useless crap? Remember, I have NADD and having NADD means I’m a obsessive power freak. I achieve that power with information, but there are only so many hours in the day, so I must constantly tune my network to bring me more information. Yes, discovering the new computer-animated Spiderman matters. Yes, the MTV video Awards are a cultural event I don’t want to miss.

7 Responses

  1. If I’m in the right mood, I love commercials… when I worked at the Museum of Television & Radio, I watched approximately 4000+ classic commercials (from the 1930s-1980s) over a 5 week research period. And then I’d go home and watch commercials at

    And I definitely have NADD. I often open up so many windows on my desktop that I crash my computer at work and have to reboot and open everything back up again.

  2. Rands, please.

    Real TiVo users don’t use the 30 second skip feature. Their trigger finger is so good they can fast forward through all the commercials and hit the play button at exactly the right time.

  3. How I miss

  4. Sebastian Meyer 21 years ago

    I own a Replay TV unit and noticed the same thing. I often skip back after getting a glimplse of a commercial by accident to see what it was about.

  5. Ryan Steele 21 years ago

    Not to nitpick, but I think you mean midriff, not mid-drift. Though I must admit the mental image of Christina Aguilera sticking out of a snowbank is an interesting one.

  6. rands 21 years ago

    Midriff. I had no idea.

  7. John Whitlock 21 years ago

    I’ve found the point of TiVo is ONLY WATCH SOMETHING ONCE, or ONLY WATCH AS MANY TIMES AS YOU WANT. Local furniture salesmen? Never need to see another one. New beer commercial? Might as well see it once, so I know what guys are refering to at work. Japanese Car Commerical? I need to know what music the ad creators are listening to. The Law and Order where the red-head from Six Feet Under plays a retarded girl? I’ll save that for my “special” night.