Sunday, January 4, 2009

Waiting for Grandpa Simpson

I don't subscribe to the print edition of The New York Times, but I pick and choose--much the same result of my reading of the paper version, even if the method of picking and choosing is different--what to read from the website. (Make of that what you will in the context of this post.) I always make sure to peruse The Medium, a weekly column written by Virginia Heffernan in the Sunday Magazine that considers topics of concern in the field of digital media.

This week's column examines the experience of watching TV and movies on It's a pretty interesting article in general--including a decently developed consideration of what type of programming works best on this new type and size of screen--but I was most fascinated by Heffernan's take on the advertising used on the site:
An irritable thought: If advertisers are going to keep advertising, they shouldn’t advertise how little they advertise. Sites like Hulu shouldn’t count down the seconds that commercials play. An ad that keeps telling you how unobtrusive it is like a friend whose greatest virtue is that she leaves you alone. Her absence might be appreciated, but it doesn’t make her much of a friend.
Heffernan is most likely correct about the benefits of advertising with confidence, but I found the countdown of remaining commercial time almost unbearably annoying for a different reason. I just can't imagine that it's beneficial for me to have such a prominent countdown present for things which I would like to end.

My several months of unemployment have taught me a lot about rejection and waiting, and a lot about how I can and should handle rejection and waiting. And the lesson I've learned best of all about waiting is that you want to minimize the focus you place on the process of waiting. Sometimes it's best to just put on your headphones and listen to some relaxing polka music while you're waiting for the subway, because looking at your watch every thirty seconds isn't going to make the train come any faster.

But that's a hard-enough lesson to live by. And I don't need Hulu fueling my impatience by telling my exactly how many seconds I need to wait for something good to happen. Because job hunting--like most of life, I imagine--knows no schedule.

No comments: