I guess I find it kind of refreshing to know that even in this
high-tech era the phone company thinks that a guy like this is capable
of leading them into battle against the evil empire, in this case,
Verizon Fios. This unnamed everyman may not be as memorable as
Catherine Zeta-Jones in the T-mobile ads, but then, who is?
He is endearing, which is countercultural in the world of
advertising today, a world in which many brands have decided that
annoying is memorable and choose their spokespeople accordingly. (That
ATT guy tossing postcards around on a map would get voted off any
island I inhabited.)
What I don’t quite get is this obsession with super-fast. We have at
our fingertips access to more information than Thomas Jefferson and all
his peers could have processed in a lifetime. Anything we need to know
can be downloaded in a fraction of the time it would have taken us to
walk to the library just a few short decades ago.
I understand that we like to move fast. Fast cars and fast planes
get us somewhere quicker, but faster downloading doesn’t really mean we
can think faster. We still have the bottleneck of the processor lodged
between our ears. So what if it takes the video of the bear on the
trampoline an extra few seconds to appear on our screen?
There are images and videos and songs galore, not to mention the
expanding universe of social networking sites, the bloating popularity
of which indicate that somebody out there has some extra time on their
hands. Isn’t it reasonable to ask why a Facebook lover who has time to
solicit my involvement in Farmville is in need of the blazing speeds
promised by the new barons of broadband?
Unless you’re operating a remote control surgical unit or a predator
drone, what makes you think that you really need all the speed?
I’m not advocating a return to dial-up. I remember well the annoying
clicks and beeps of modems connecting, then disconnecting, and spent my
share of days hunting for a fax machine or a phone to send in a story
after deadline, because I had counted on e-mail when it was far less
reliable than it is today.
I found that annoying, and I don’t advocate going back to it. But
today, as Syracuse welcomes its first 4G provider, please tell me if
any of you are able to perceive the difference between a 3G and a 4G
Blackberry. For most of us, the Internet involves transmission of words
and a few images. People check their Facebook accounts, look at e-mail
if they’re kind of old, and wander around indulging their curiosity
about sports, the news, weather and, just maybe (not me, of course, and
certainly not you) click on a little porn video now and again. Just to
see what’s out there.
Just what are we downloading that requires such speed? And what are
we doing with all this time we supposedly save? Oh, that’s right. We
have faster web speeds to free up more time to surf the web. Gotta love
Read Ed Griffin-Nolan’s award-winning commentary every week in the Syracuse New Times.