Tuesday, September 14, 2010

For What It's Worth No. 23

Advertising Age just revealed the annual Ipsos Mendelsohn Affluent Survey showing affluent Americans—those making more than $100,000 per year—are moving away from print to the internet. Magazine readership dropped 16% while internet viewership increased by 12%. What's ironic is that television viewing remained static at an average of 17.6 hours per week. This all reminded me of what my mother used to say: "Too much television will make you go blind." Now I'm sure she really didn't mean blind, but she did realize it wasn't good for the eyes to stare at the screen for a long time. She spent her childhood without television and her nearsighted vision lasted her all of her 87 years—she really only ever needed reading glasses—while her son required glasses by the time he turned 12 and still wears them. Mom grew up on a farm and I'm sure her eyes got a workout in the field as well as on the front porch, scanning the horizon or watching out for what may be underfoot.

The Ipsos study shows that on average affluent Americans spend a total of 42.9 hours on the internet and television combined. I don't know about you but my eyes are extremely tired by the end of the day to the point of blurriness which is to be expected when my screen is about a foot away from me—that would be like sitting that close to the TV for over eight hours each day. It just can't be good for us. Yet that's where we're headed, away from looking at the distance and only looking at things close up, the internet, e-readers, i-Phones and the like. In fact if you walk down the street in Manhattan you'll see dozens of New Yorkers who aren't looking up they're looking down reading or texting—and we thought tourists were a nuisance!

There's so much of the real world to see I'm continually troubled by how many hours we stay locked in our room in front of a screen. While we may think we're having the foresight to keep up with the latest technology we're actually becoming more farsighted. And that just can't be good for us.


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