Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Dilution of Community

I noticed this article on my RSS feed yesterday. Too Many Options Dilute Shared Experience is attempting to explain the recent struggles of movie making, network television, and other entertainment and how it impacts society. The article claims:
Significant social change [is] brought on by audience fragmentation. Cultural reference points are fading. The root cause? A proliferation of entertainment options impelled by niche-driven marketing.
In other words, we have too many options to create a "shared common experience." With TV encompassing hundreds of channels, people shunning theaters to view DVD's in their own home and vast information available on the internet, people have unbelievable choice. "But what we gain as individuals we lose as a society."

You don't have to have television to notice this phenomenon in society. I have been a den leader for our local Cub Scout Pack for six years and we have attendance problems, not because cub scouting is boring, but because there are so many other things to do each school night and no child or parent wants to commit. Commitment is no longer our style, we need to have the remote control of life clicking madly, dipping into each activity to see what is happening without ever having viewed an entire show.

With this flightiness you lose the details of life. Lack of commitment to projects, learning, activities, and people does not propagate community. Community is created when life, even boring days or shows, are shared, when problems are solved, and when people communicate. The CSM article says:
[T]oday we know that [sharing episodes of I Love Lucy and having family dinner] not only shape a society, they are linked to better health, lower crime rates, and improved learning.
I'm for all those things. Banish the remote! Oh, we haven't installed the TV yet! I'll go hang out at the co-op or hardware store and commune with the community.


Anonymous said...

This is so true. Planning and getting people to attend a locally sponsored homeschool event almost requires a full-scale pr campaign in order to make things sound as appealing (or moreso) than the other events in the area. It is a competition for attention.

Thank goodness for my marketing background (and chocolate and a good bottle of wine and hot baths).


Susan said...

Some very interesting stuff here. Thank you. I try to fight the overbooked-ness myself. I found your blog through one of the education (or is it homeschool?) carnivals mentioned on Here in the Bonny Glen. Very nice!

I am so jealous of that beautiful Mississippi spring as seen in your photograph. My home state. Sigh. Makes me want to move home and home-school, too! My boy would LOVE a farm.

Susan, from Jackson, now in CT

wisteria said...

Maybe you will get to come home, too. I was away for 13 years, more if you count undergraduate school, before I came back. The children do love the freedom of the farm.