Looking Back While Looking Forward?

Many readers have asked me to share stats more frequently, so I do below. The Internet has proven its worth as a viable source for information, a tool for instant communication, and an alternative to TV while we are at work.

According to Pew Research, in the two days following the attack:

  • 74 percent of all Americans reached out to loved ones and friends via the phone or the Internet.
  • 82 percent of Internet users used the phone or email to make contact.
  • Those using the Internet spent a bit more time online than usual.

A new poll released by Boston PR marketing firm Cone Inc., specializing in “cause-related” marketing, indicated that out of 1,000 adult consumers interviewed, 75 percent thought it appropriate for advertisers to resume “business as usual.”

Everything seems to have a different meaning now. TV programmers are still working feverishly to alter the content of season premiers. Ellen DeGeneres’s new show, “The Ellen Show,” made reference to a business “collapsing.” A character replies, “I’m glad I wasn’t there at the time.” A new CIA drama dropped footage of an exploding plane. You may have already heard about “Law & Order.” A miniseries on bioterrorism was yanked. Networks are going so far as to review credit sequences showing the “old” New York City skyline. Even Homer Simpson got nabbed. A scheduled rerun was pulled because it contained a scene in which Homer parks a car in front of the World Trade Center.

In my last article, I shared a bit that I read in a New York Times article. I left you with the question, “Do films and television mirror the culture, or do they lead it?” Never have I received such overwhelming response to an article. As a result, I had to share some of it with you:

“If there was such a cause and effect relationship with media consumption and behavior, why is it that a generation of people reared on watching stable families (e.g., [the Cleavers of] “Leave It to Beaver” and [the Stones of] “The Donna Reed Show”) on television grew to adulthood and had the highest divorce rates than any other before them? It may influence, but it is just one drop in a sea of influences. What the collective nation experienced was a tragedy, and we all struggle to make sense of it and what we can do to prevent it. Before we come to terms with this tragedy, I have no doubt that the finger of blame will be pointed many places — our intelligence community, immigration, foreign policy, airline safety, media, and the list will go on. But at the end of the day, it was a group of men who were taught such a hatred that they would choose to kill innocents. Their influences were [the] words of the people around them, and in the end I think that continues to be the major influence of behavior.” (Bradley of BURST! Media)

“Like the rest of the world, we have been watching the terrible strategy in NYC in horror — and live! — thanks to CNN and BBC World (here in Turkey)… While the attack was happening, I kept thinking about a book by Tom Clancy called “Debt of Honor,” which described a tragedy almost identical to that of what happened in the US last week. Another book, titled “Black Friday,” covered the same topic… I kept asking myself, ‘Could these books be read by those lunatics?… Media is definitely more than just a reporting tool… Chilling!” (Bulent of ZapMedia in Istanbul)

“As messengers of media, I think we should all strive to be just a little more honest and true to our craft… If we were a little more real and a little less self-righteousness, it will reflect in the eyes of those watching. Whose job is it to make the first step? I think it’s the one with the bigger megaphone.” (Shannon, uclick)

“American TV is a fun-house mirror. It distorts who we are and broadcasts it around the world.” (Heather, Schubert Communications)

“No hard or set answer. Higher percentage is art imitates life.” (Gary, DivXNetworks)

“It is a time to really work hard to start doing it all right and to make a difference in our own lives and the lives of others.” (Elissa, Mullen)

“The events of last week have created a sober nation. How do we incorporate this tragedy and the pain of it all into our normal routine without letting the despair send us spinning?” (My friend Marty, a teacher)

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