Across the pond…..
26th June 2009
I have recently returned from the USA, after visiting New York City for a week. We, obviously, didn’t watch television much during the holiday as we were too busy visiting as many tourist attractions as possible in the 168 hours that we had. But when we caught up with the headlines via CNN (UK news channels did not seem to be available) it was interesting to notice that every anchor, newsreader and journalist displayed their Twitter usernames, while reporting the daily news, ensuring the public could follow them to find out more.
I know Twitter is huge in the UK, but it is still up and coming i.e. a lot of people who use social networks like Facebook and MySpace are yet to make the move onto Twitter. However, across the Atlantic it is definitely second nature.
CNN has a feature called “The Situation Room”, which firstly is anchored by a man called Wolf (which I thought was very cool) and secondly, uses Twitter throughout its coverage. The feature uses a main news story of the day, and turns it into a debate. The viewers are encouraged to contact CNN – Wolf and the panel of experts – “tweeting” their opinions. This is displayed on a screen in the studio, and Wolf uses it to influence the debate. It is fast moving, up to date and interesting to see how newsreaders react to the viewers “tweets”.
As anyone who has been to New York will know, they are also very big on their digital signage. Times Square is the ultimate example of this, everywhere you look there are massive signs displaying adverts for mobile phones, Broadway shows and TV programmes. It was amazing to see the whole side of a building as a digital sign, the only way you could tell it was an office building was because of the windows sporadically dotted around. (Photos will follow once I have transferred them from my digital camera onto my laptop – must find the time!)
Even hailing a cab is a new experience. For entertainment in the back, each cab we used had a small TV touchscreen so you could choose what you watched during your journey. We didn’t actually test the benefits due to the short travel time, and the fact there was so much to see by looking out the car window! But I presume it is a popular addition to a taxi journey as all of them have a TV.
I obviously wouldn’t pass any opinion in regards to saying that the USA were further ahead then the UK re digital technology, whether it be signage, social media, travel entertainment etc. But I suppose my point is that it was so much more visible across the pond than it is here. Everywhere you look - mid-town Manhattan is technology rich – whether you’re watching TV, walking around or hailing a cab.
For those who haven’t been to New York I highly recommend it. It is the most unique and interesting city I have ever visited. Watch this space for the photo evidence!