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Blog #3

September 17, 2012

When it comes to my “favorite” theory that we as a class have explored since the start of the course, it has to be the idea of Displacement Theory. This theory interests me because it can be used as framework to address how people spend use their time in relation to technology. On a personal level, this theory can explain why and how I spend X amount of hours each day using technology.

While I am writing this, I am watching television, texting a friend on my iPhone, and I have Facebook open on in another window on my PC. All of these are great examples of just some of the tech devices I use every day. The amount of time that I spend on these devices varies from day to day depending on the device. When connecting all this tech usage back to the idea of Displacement Theory, time is the crucial variable being addressed.

As we learned in class, Displacement Theory is centered around a limited resource perspective. Meaning that we only have a certain amount of time each day that we can use technology. Participation in one communication domain takes away from other domains. Relating this all back to me as an individual, my time spent watching television takes away from the time spent listening to music for example.

The Displacement Theory and television coincide in such a way that a unique perspective can be gain by examining the relationship in depth.

Like radio, television has become a familiar fixture in 98% of households. The idea of media system dependency that we discussed in lecture also addresses how radio impacted the lives of people a hundred years ago by providing companionship in the home, political news, a family bonding experience, and a sense of national culture. Many similarities can be drawn between the impacts of radio and television in terms of societal, economic, and cultural changes. People accepted television into their lives with the same fervor as they did radio. This being said, television does have a part in my personal tech use for the foreseeable future, but other devices are meaningful as well. This represents a connection back to the framework idea of displacement theory. I only have a finite amount of time in my day (about 49% interpersonal and 51% media listening for a college student) to actually do anything. Devices like my iPhone 4S are major contenders for my larger and larger portions of my time when compared to old favorites of mine like television. My iPhone simply has more capabilities that I enjoy more than the satisfaction that I gain from watching from television.

However, with the capabilities of my smart phone come the benefits of television. More often videos accompany many apps on my phone and the whole experience becomes nearly the same as watching television. One app imparticular allows for me to watch the same Dish Network programming I have in my home in real time on my iPhone. This connection in my own personal tech use illustrates how older technologies like television can be brought to the user by means of new technologies such as those found in tablets, computers, and smart phones.

The future of television and how it is used is becoming more secure with its adaptation to other personal tech devices. Those who enjoy watching their favorite television shows can still do so on anywhere from their smart devices (for a nominal fee of course). Television would be eventually decline if it was not accepted to other means of viewing it. People only have a limited amount of time in their day to interact with their devices, so it would only make sense that the more can be done from a single device the better. Tech developers would be smart to take note of this displacement theory trend when design future devices.

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