I did some light reading on time-use recently and came across some insightful observations from researcher John Robinson. He’s spent the last four decades reviewing thousands of “time journals” from people around the world.
Contrary to what you might think, Robinson argues we have more free time today than when he started keeping records in the ’60s, something The Atlantic corroborates. Only now we choose to fill that free time with overwork or busy-ness instead of proper leisure (e.g. relaxation, hobbies, or adventures) because that’s how many of us validate our existence.
A few highlights from Robinson’s research: People in Spain spend the most time walking (good for them!), Italians and Slovenians spend the most time relaxing (nice!), and Bulgarians (not Americans!) spend the most time watching TV (tsk, tsk). In the United States, people spend more time on computers than any other country, they volunteer more, and they spend the most time taking care of children and the elderly.
I suspect the increase in childcare is partially due to the rise of helicopter parenting. But those are mostly noble uses of American’s time, I believe. That is, of course, if we’re using computers to work smarter, work less, and facilitate really cool offline adventures.—Blake Snow
The story first published to blakesnow.com in 2014
Earlier this year, I was enthralled by CNN’s excellent and Tom Hanks-produced miniseries on modern history, so much so that I binged them all during two long haul flights.
The first one I watched, The Nineties, was about my adolescence and it did not disappoint. In only seven sentences, this is how the documentary summarized the decade:
- TV: The decade starts with “The Simpsons,” ends with “The Sopranos,” and MTV permeates Generation X eyeballs with “reality TV” while cable news sensationalizes everything.
- Music: Nirvana releases “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and Generation X finally feels heard. Women become the “latest trend in rock” and gangsta rap takes over.
- Politics: Bill Clinton rides into the White House on a wave of hope, but his presidency is soon weighed down by scandal and staunch Republican opposition.
- Globalization: The Soviet Union collapses and world leaders attempt to shape a New World Order. Nelson Mandela is freed and Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait.
- Information Age: Computers go mainstream and the Information Age begins. Microsoft takes over everything and a new thing called the internet connects the world.
- Terrorism: The radical right gains steam, with extremist elements carrying out acts of domestic terrorism. The Unabomber terrorizes the country.
- Division: Racial issues erupt across the country. The police beating of Rodney King sparks the L.A. riots. The O.J. Simpson trial captivates the nation.
Not a bad recap for a fast-moving documentary about a forward-thinking decade. 4/5 stars.
Excluding non-bylined stories for my commercial clients, this is what I published last month:
Thanks for reading.
credit: dungeons and dragons
Growing old is a weird as you imagined it. Not that any young readers ever think about getting old. As a tenderfoot, I certainly didn’t. Yolo!
In any case, onset aging baffles me. The body can’t move like it used to. The brain increasingly forgets things. And it’s perplexing to watch younger generations do things in ways you and your contemporaries can’t relate.
Take Let’s Play videos, for instance—one of the most popular and fastest growing types of television. Also called playthroughs, they work like this: Continue reading…
Samsung / Blake Snow
Unless you want to be average, don’t spend 20 hours a week watching TV. Fullfilment takes time. “I wish I watched more Netflix,” said no dying person ever.
A lot of rabid olympic spectators in America are understandably upset. NBC has spoiled the tape-delayed results on more than one occasion, either with an evening newscast or even a promotional commercial in between events which announce interviews with eventual gold medalists that still haven’t won on tape delay.
Worse still for cord-cutters like me, authentication of a cable subscription is required to watch events live online, even though NBC is a free broadcast channel. Even still, the live stream app reportedly crashes a lot.
At the same time, the number of people watching NBC’s olympic prime-time and tape-delayed coverage is off the charts. Record ratings even. NBC’s tape delayed approach is even boosting they’re revenue, so they’re approach is obviously working, even if it upsets a lot of people.
So why is everyone so pissed off, and by everyone I really mean just a loud vocal minority? Continue reading…
See also: Other Geico favorites | Comedian trailer
Interesting story by USA Today on how ESPN allegedly enticed the ACC to poach Pitt and Syracuse from the Big East, after the latter conference refused a TV deal from ESPN.
Classic. Song here
As seen on CBS prior to BYU beating Gonzaga en route to the sweet sixteen. Go, Cougars! (Note: This is my favorite pre-game intro.)
Channel Master sent me their over-air DVR for possible media consideration. After spending a few days with it, I’m impressed. Enough to talk about it on my personal blog. Here’s how it works: Continue reading…
Mixing camping with must-see TV?
Honestly, how much could this fan be “enjoying” a game of football on a three inch screen while camping, especially since he probably has 50″ HDTV at home? Grow a pair and pick one: Get away from it all in the great outdoors or stay home to watch a game you’re really interested in. Or if you must, DVR.
Seriously, what kind of sick society are we turning into? The equation is simple.
I needed an extra HDMI cable for my living room. So I turned to where I always go for such things: Amazon.com.
When I found one for $2.15 with free shipping, I was skeptical. But the 4.5 star average user rating quickly quieted any concerns. After all, the item has been favorably reviewed a whopping 3,231 times on Amazon.
So I bought it.
The fairly advanced cable arrived today, after only a few days. The craftsmanship is middle grade. It works fine. It suits my needs, if not exceeds them given the ridiculously low price. So how the crap can someone make money selling this thing for only $2.15 with free shipping?
It can’t just be volume. It can’t just be cheap foreign labor.
In other words, if this little guy isn’t proof that the Chinese artificially deflate their currency, despite their booming economy, I don’t know what is. Booming economies, after all, have trusted currency. Trusted currency results in higher trading prices (i.e. historically high prices for Dollar and Pounds when compared to the rest of the world).
What’s a reasonable consumer to do when the global economy doesn’t play by the rules?
In China’s defense, the U.S. just printed 6 billion notes, which isn’t exactly playing by the rules. But at least our currency is rightfully trading at market prices. The Chinese’s, on the other hand, is still bottom of the barrel, even though its economy is similar in size and trusted almost as much as the American economy.
Something’s fishy, no?
Because sitting through a two-hour moving on a single sofa is so hard these days. Or waiting for popcorn to pop while a movie is paused is excruciatingly slow.
DirecTV’s response: “We better make it easy for people to pause dramatic movie scenes between kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom TVs. It’s not like they’re going to want to stay engaged in said scenes anyway. Who are we to deny people continuous movies during potty breaks? Now let’s go sell this dumb idea! There’s a sucker born every minute!”
Multi-room viewing is retarded use of technology.
DISCLOSURE: I don’t subscribe to any TV service. (Over-air HD and Internet TV only).
… than watching this. Usually (I make exceptions for high-profile sporting events and the occasional Netflix stream.)
Point is, DVR lowers your standards. You wouldn’t watch half that crap (and by “crap,” I mean poorly produced, written, and acted shows when compared to movies) if it were live. So why subject yourself to lesser entertainment? I’m sure some people use DVR as it was designed: to make it easier to watch the shows you used to watch live. But the majority of DVR users actually abuse the technology, and end up watching more television (i.e. settling) than they normally would.
In that sense, DVR is not better living through technology. It’s clouding our judgment. It’s reducing our ability to think critically.
Just like the last one. See also: Hilarious Starburst commercial
WIMBLEDON, England – The longest match in tennis history was suspended because of darkness at 59-59 in the fifth set at Wimbledon on Wednesday night.
The first-round match between 23rd-seeded John Isner of Tampa, Fla., and qualifier Nicolas Mahut of France already had been suspended because of fading light Tuesday night after the fourth set.
They have been playing each other for a total of exactly 10 hours — 7 hours, 6 minutes in the fifth set alone, enough to break the full-match record of 6:33, set at the 2004 French Open.
While considering a TV upgrade, Lindsey and I were price checking a nearby retailer yesterday. Thankfully for us, the outfit was showing a kids movie, so parents could shop around.
Lindsey and I didn’t wait to take advantage. After a few minutes, I glanced towards the girls to find my four year-old looking the opposite direction, peeking through tiny fingers, and squirming in her skin as she watched a sci-fi movie on a different TV. I then rushed over to rescue her from the gnarly Alien surgery taking place on screen.
She was pretty upset. And I’m sad to say I didn’t notice the movie beforehand. (Was neck deep in materialism—not parenting— at the time, okay?) She cried when we got home. Her mother wisely recommended prayer. I offered. It helped.
This morning, it was Sadie’s turn to pray. “Please help me forget scary movies,” she supplicated.
Cutest. Prayer. Ever.
Adidas + Star Wars + Mischief + Daft Punk + Snoop Dog = Fun
“Oh Ten” has already been kind to sporting events. The Super Bowl was actually worth watching this year. The Winter Games were better this time than four years ago. And March Madness was crazy good—the most exciting first round I’ve ever seen, in fact.
But it doesn’t stop there. Grand Slam tennis picks up again next month with the start of the French Open, followed by hollowed Wimbledon a month later. The Atlanta Braves are gonna win the pennant this year and make it to the World Series. And college football will once again turn your Saturdays into the most important day of the week.
More than anything, though, I have World Cup fever this year. The U.S. opens against former colonizer England on June 12. And other first round match ups are equally oozing with riveting story lines and potential. Plus, all 64 games will be freely broadcast over air by either ABC or Univision in high-definition. (Note to self: Remember to buy bigger TV before hand; clear your schedule from Jun 11 – Jul 11.)
But enough about me. What are your favorite sporting events? What are you excited to watch this year?
Although I think BMWs handle better, this Audi commercial entitled “Breaking the spell” is brilliant from a branding perspective. Love it. The black cars are pretty hot too.
I’m watching U.S. Open Tennis live, right now, in HD on the grand slam’s official website, usopen.org. It. Is. Awesome. Here’s why: Continue reading…
I’m a teetotaler. But I can’t stop laughing at The Most Interesting Man in the World, the fictional celebrity endorser for Dos Equis beer (similar to Chuck Norris Facts). As usual, the new ad spots are proof positive that beer advertisers are the funniest in the world.
But I digress. I’m not here to talk about beer ads. I’m here to name the most interesting facts about The Most Interesting Man in the World. They are as follows, according to reputable researchers, top scholars, and his contemporaries: Continue reading…
Haven’t been a fan of LL since the “Mama Said Knock You Out” days, but this is hilariously clever advertising. Nice!
This is the latest Geico caveman commercial entitled “Plane Banner,” which is somewhat of a revival after the idea grew stale, not to mention the embarrassing TV spin off of last year. In any case, caveman commercials have been making me chuckle since they started in 2004. Am I alone?
See also: My new favorite commercial [Lindsey Snow]
“You can find a link to the report on our website.”
That’s the same line every local TV news station in the nation uses to artificially inflate their website traffic. What they are really saying is: “We have no idea what we’re doing online, and our shortsighted logic tells us that we should funnel and horde all valuable web links on our site. But our website is so messy you won’t even be able to find the desired link.
“Furthermore, we’re pretentious and have no understanding that providing a courteous service to our audience (like saying, “For more information, visit WeLikeSharing.com”) is enough reason alone to keep them coming back — so we force the issue.”
I rarely if ever watch local news. But this sort of amateur move is enough to make me never want to watch again. Lame.
Here’s a clever Canadian TV spot released in 2007 for Mr. Sub that lampoons Mormon missionaries — something I had the honor of experiencing for two years (’99-00) while in Brazil. Good times. Funny commercial.[via Don Loper]
Sadie woke up early today. After getting up with her and dozing off on the couch, she unfortunately decided to turn on the Today Show on NBC. I don’t watch morning shows, and now I know why. The programming is pathetic — it’s like a prolonged advertisement filled with periodic non-news and weather updates every 10 minutes. Just horrible…
Which made me wonder: Will morning shows continue to air once the baby-boomer generation passes on? Who else is watching this dross?
Pay-per-click, as many once believed, will not take over the world. Neither will pay-per-action. Reason being? A person’s evoked set. That is the brain being stimulated by previous bombardment of ads through either visuals, audio, or other media that the person isn’t actively seeking, but given the right time, will select one based on who’s advertised the most to them.
It’s the reason that I went to Geico several years ago for car insurance, though I’ve never clicked on their online ads. It’s the reason I (first) took my car to Midas to get fixed, though I’ve never signed up for a coupon or promotion with them. And it’s the reason if I ever need to find an old classmate, I’ll turn to Classmates.com, though I’ve never clicked on one of their ads. You don’t always have to click, or do something to spend your money, hence, exposure still has a price, and mass advertising still works. Granted, PPC allows me to earn some scratch on the side with a few of my sites, but once traffic gets high enough (250,000 page views/month), it’ll be all CPM (cost per thousand impression) advertising which is much more lucrative.
So with that, who are some of your favorite mass advertisers? I still love Geico commercials as they always seem to mix it up and leave me entertained, and the recent Burger King commercials (Big Hunkin’ Chicken) really crack me up too. And don’t even get me started on Red Strip (“Hooray Beer!”). Hilarious!