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Home media ecology

A friend whose blog I read sometimes titles her entries "Imponderables." I suspect this might fit under that category.

Every time I visit with a telecommunications provider, I hear a sad litany of just how tough it is to make a profit in today's marketplace. I don't get it.

In 1988, this was, as I remember it, my telecommunications outlay:

  • Basic telephone service including handset rental: $25 a month
  • Long distance service, $10-20 a month
  • One television and one radio (receiver built into a stereo amplifier) = $500 with a life span of 36 months = $15

Total about $55 a month.

In 2008, this is my telco outlay:

  • Basic telephone service, no handset, $25 a month
  • Long distance service, $10-20 a month
  • Cell service for 3 lines, text messaging, data service: $120 a month
  • Satellite TV, no movie or sports channels, $50 a month
  • Home broadband Internet access, $50 a month
  • Webhosting, two sites, $40 a month
  • Various wireless charges at hotels, airports, etc. $30 a month
  • Three televisions, three computers, printer, scanner, 2 cell phones, 1 cell phone/PDA, 5 telephone handsets (now portable with base stations), 2 iPods, GPS system, wireless home router, DVD player, VCR, stereo receiver/amp (No TiVo - yet.) All devices which need to be replaced now and then. Maybe around $9000 worth of electronics with an estimated life span of 36 months = $250

 Total about $580 a month!

And telco providers aren't making money? I don't get it.

I thought of this while playing with a chart that Lee Rainie from the Pew's Internet & American Life uses in this The New Media Ecology presentation. (He credits Tom Wolzien, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., but I can't seem to locate his work.) Here is my adaptation:





There's been some fuss lately about whether Prensky's Digital Immigrant/Digital Native analogy is accurate or useful. I'm not sure. But I do feel that while I may not have immigrated to a new digital country, I have moved from an information desert to an information jungle over the past 10 years or so. (And I have the bills to prove it.)

I am pretty sure that our kids don't inhabit this jungle any more skillfully than us geezers. They've just never known the desert.

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Reader Comments (2)

Did you see the NYTimes column by David Pogue? One of his "Imponderables": * Why doesn't someone start a cellphone company that bills you only for what you use? That model works O.K. for the electricity, gas and water companies —and people would beat a path to its door.

October 19, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLazygal

Hi Lazygal,

I think you can buy pre-paid cell phones like you can pre-paid calling cards. I just know the cell phone people see a sucker when they see me walk in the door.

I'm thinking about getting an iPhone.

All the best,

October 19, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

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