October 18th, 2011
The big screen HD TV was sitting right there in front of us – but we all ignored it and dove into our mobile technology to get more information on a tragic racing accident. It struck me later that evening – that even me – a child of television – had not automatically defaulted to the TV set – choosing my iPad instead.
It was Sunday afternoon and my older son had invited friends and family to his Plano, Texas home for a cookout and a little Cowboys football. Zak was using his Droid X texting buddies in other locations throughout the game. My younger son, Josh, was using his iPhone to check on his teams in a number of Fantasy Football Leagues. I had brought along my iPad to watch other late games from the NFL Sunday Ticket “To Go.” I, of course, also had my trusty Droid X at my side for texting and emails. Wives and other guests were active on their cell phones keeping up with messages from their friends. All of this mobile activity occurred while we also kept an eye on the TV – hoping the Cowboys could hang on to win a close game against the Patriots. (No such luck!).
Suddenly Mark received an alert on his iPhone that a popular Indy Racing League driver had been killed in one of the worst accidents anyone had ever seen during a race in Las Vegas. Immediately we all peered into our mobile devices – smart phones and the iPad – looking for information and a replay of the accident. The elephant in the room – the 50-inch HD TV was ignored as the Cowboy-Patriots game droned along.
In less than a minute, Mark found a web site that had a replay of the crash. I immediately went to it – and my iPad played the carnage – with cars spinning out of control and flames everywhere. It was a horrible crash brought to us in living color on the Apple mobile device. We were able to replay it, and freeze it – while trying to determine what caused the crash etc. We also watched interviews with drivers and saw the CEO of the racing league announcing that the race had been cancelled – but that all the drivers would return to the track for a slow, five-lap tribute to Dan Wheldon – who had been killed in the crash.
It was only when Zak received a text message from a buddy of his – saying that the tribute was about to begin on ABC television – that any of us took our eyes off of our mobile technology and looked over at the big elephant in the room, as Zak switched away from the football game to watch the tribute live from Las Vegas.
Not even the 60-something, child of television, who has worked in the TV business for four decades, gave a second thought to the big screen HD TV until that moment. And that night, my friends, I thought about another lesson I’d learned that day about new media versus legacy media.