Thoughts on Father’s Day and Interaction Models

by Paul D'Alessandro on June 20, 2010

There is this notion in society that events or interaction models center around a single person.  No where is this more true than with the concept of Father’s Day.  While the name of the event insinuates it is a day around one person it is in fact a day of family; father’s and their children doing things together.  Television is another area where I think this notion has been misunderstood.  If we look back at the history of television it is a very social event.  People even have parties around major television events like the final episode of classic shows or big sporting events.  Watching television alone is sometimes analogized to riding the chairlift alone in skiing.  There simply needs to be someone else there with which to share the moment.

While television in the 1950s through 1980s in the United States was a very social event, in recent years the advent of more screens and the move of TV onto the computer through IPTV has caused it to lose much of its social capital.  There is however recent indication that through a popular service and a new product the social interaction model is emerging again.

I think we have almost all been influenced in some way by Facebook.  It is truly become cross generational as even seniors now use it to reconnect after their 50th high school reunions and grandparents watch their grandchildren grow.  The 1:some, 1:many, some:some and many:many types of interactions that Facebook is making possible are changing the isolated nature of the computing experience into one where social is the new norm (again).

However, even more profound has been what I have recently observed around the new tablet space.  I really think that there is something magical about a 9.7″+ screen size.  What struck me at first was that everyone I knew who had an iPad wanted to show it off.  However, what I soon came to realize was that it was not the gee whiz of the device that they were showing off but instead the content on the device.  Whereas the small screen size of the smart phone has challenged the notion of it as a social appliance, the iPad and tablets will thrive by being able to once again share and be social around content.

What is most important to understand here is that the very notion of the Internet is changing as we speak.  What was in its infancy (1995-2000) primarily a broadcast tool became a simple interaction tool (2001-2007).  Today, the notion of the internet is that of a true collaboration tool far beyond simple interactions.  Witness the reality of youth dropping voice plans for data only on their mobile devices.  Consider the fact that the iPad has already eclipsed the Android and Blackberry platforms in terms of daily web page views.  We have moved from a centricity around the individual to the realization of the community/collaboration nature of the Internet.  Happy Fathers Day!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

James Johnson January 4, 2011 at 10:31 am

Thanks for the insight – great topic for Father’s Day.

totally agree about television being a shared experience – especially with family members. Watching a sporting event alone pales in comparison to hearing my 11 year old daughter audibly rejoice after a Stanford (or Navy) touchdown is scored.
It’s helpful to have your perspective in a broader context including web enabled social interations. It’s nice to think that FB’s effect on society will be positive, but the jury it still out on that one. Many heavy users I know seem to believe facebook is a substitute for face time.

Riding a lift chair alone while posting a scenic picture and comment on FB for 200 friends is not as good as riding a lift chair with one good friend or family member. But, it is better than nothing!

Looking forward to your future blogs about the iPad’s impact along with how social media is evolving -

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