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Mini Quiches?

Mark Cuban - fellow Mt. Lebanon HS grad, and, oh yeah, owner of the Dallas Mavericks ;) - thinks that that online video is a snack, while TV is a meal. I like that analogy. Some people have pointed me to long form videos on the net, but I can't watch them. It's not just a quality issue. Like everyone else, I'm leaning forward - purpose driven - not content to just lean back and enjoy. Anything more than a couple of minutes, I'm usually ready to move on.

Now, Mark may conclude that TV is much more fulfilling, but I'm not sure the younger crowd agrees. If online video is just a snack, unfortunately for the TV networks there's a whole buffet out there. It includes video games, MySpace, IM'ing, IPOD's, and everything else (even, gasp, a game of catch with friends in the great outdoors). TV used to be pretty much the one and only entertainment format in the home. Those days are past. It's a crowded room now. Getting the user's attention and keeping it is becoming more and more difficult.

In the spirit of the analogy, perhaps TV is that really good meal you had the other night that's still in the fridge but you worry won't "keep" if you keep it around much longer? Eh...probably not.


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Comments (1)


Damn near fell of my chair.... how dare an Internet convert such as yourself champion a game of catch. Or perhaps, how refreshing . . . What's next Indian ball? Perhaps street hockey? Or even a simple game of H-O-R-S-E?

As the father of three kids, I am beginning to loath the e-age. Everything from Gameboys, to Gamecubes, to in car DVDs, to Webkinz. Jesus, even stuffed animals are no longer sacred. My kids can go from their room, to the car, to school and back and never be away from Madden, Streetball or Hannah Montana.

It's become so bizarre that one of the leading video games these days is Lego Star Wars. Now think of the lunacy involved with that one. It's a video game featuring all of the Star Wars regulars, but they're made out of Legos. These gaming companies are so far ahead of the curve, they've managed to even take the physical activity out of playing with freakin' Legos!!

While I would be lying if I said I was unimpressed with or had no interest in NCAA 2007 (that shit is awesome), but I do wish (for my kids's sake) that the e-world of today looked more like Pong or Atari Golf. Sure we played those games, but they were never a substitute for the REAL thing. Ask a 13 year old kid in 1980 if he would prefer to have a catch outside or play Pong, and the TV would be off before you knew it. Today, ask that same kid if he would prefer to call a bunch of his buddies and play football in the street or have one buddy over to play Madden, chances are there will be some real mental gymnastics.

I've been somewhat fortunate. While my kids are EASports and Club Penguin groupies, I still think they prefer human interaction and sweat when its available. That's not to say that we don't have those days when I feel like my wife and I live with 3 zombies, who are so zoned into (er, spaced out over) some stupid Mario game.

I also see the negative results in my job. Specifically, I handle all of the law school recruiting for my law firm's office in Pittsburgh. As a result, I often attend recruiting conferences and receive newsletters whose main topic is what to expect from "this year's class." Lately, the message has been that graduates these days will require more hand holding and the development of people skills than any class before them. Why? Because they are the first class whose lives have been entirely shaped by technology and the Internet. In fact, one of my favorite interview questions this year has been, "When is the last time you wrote a letter to a friend or a relative?" Not an email, not a text message. A letter. With a stamp and a street address. Out of about 20 interviewees, one - that's right - one, could remember writing such a letter any time after the 8th grade. What's worse is that these 20-soemthings have no ability to engage in what I call "bar conversation." You know, the kind of spontaneous conversation that occurs during an interview that has absolutely nothing to do with the job, your educational background, etc. Just adult conversation like you would have at a bar with your buddies or even a complete stranger. It concerns me. We clearly have a generation that is incredibly bright and technologically savvy, but has no real life people skills.

Technological advances are mind-boggling, and there's absolutely no way to stop this runaway freight train. However, I truly hope that at some point we realize that point-and-click is no substitute for a firm handshake and a "Hello, my name is . . . "

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