June 19, 2008

Net Coming Out Top


My mother-in-law started a blog the other day.

Retired, 65 years old and happy to pot about her garden in the Cotswolds, England, she also saw that an online diary would bring her far-flung family closer together.

One of her sons works at Google and another son has a PhD in astrophysics, but she didn't need their geeky help to master blogging software or photo uploads.

My wife and I were reading this blog the other night on our laptop.

The TV was on, but another formula-driven episode of Cold Case ("here comes the confession") wasn't nearly diverting enough.

We were soon on Facebook, the big American social networking website.

It's worthwhile seeing photos of people from high school ("she got fat", "his hair is grey"), even if I'm not interested in making them Facebook friends.

On TV, Cold Case gave way to Terminator, but we found ourselves muting the programme as well as the adverts.

The internet was more entertaining, thought-provoking and worth our time.

There's a reason that Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook is worth $US1.5 billion at the age of 24. He and his ilk are building entertainment that competes directly with TV for our time.

More importantly, it's harder to blob out in front of the internet. There's terrific, engaging and important content there.

And it's not just for kids and geeks. My dear mother-in-law is deciding whether to catch Coronation Street or relish more photos of her gorgeous grandchildren. Isn't she great? --Will Harvie


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