Over a year ago, on January 17 2009, I gave up my tv. I must admit, the choice was not that hard. First my tv broke down and then I moved to a new house without an active cable connection so I did not bother to buy a new tv. So, how’s life, a year after I gave up on my tv?
Do I stare less at screens? No. Do I watch less series? No. After getting a VPN client a whole world of series opened up to me. The main difference between my life before and after tv? Twitter changed my viewing interests.
The Dutch twitterscene is very active commenting on tv programs. This brings back the old gathering function of tv: everyone watching the same program at the same time accompanied with a Twitter backchannel. It made me want to watch programs I would have never considered watching before. However, following the hashtag (#) that belongs to the program, to me, is as entertaining as actually watching the show. Snarky, witty comments filling my screen. However, not owning a tv means I cannot participate unless it is streamed live.
With the turmoil around the Comissie Davids (“This independent committee has investigated the preparation and the decision-making process regarding the political support given by the Netherlands for the invasion of Iraq in the period from the summer of 2002 to the summer of 2003.”) a series of debates was held. With Femke Halsema (the leader of the GreenLeft parliamentary party in the House of Representatives since 2002) twittering live during the debate the #irakdebat Twitter backchannel got an extra dimension. Not only did she keep us up to date during the recessions, she participated in the conversation about the debate on Twitter. Never before did I watch political debates which such interest. My Twitter timeline provided me with cynical jokes, political context and supporting links and a strong politician who brought me closer to politics by providing a sense of immediacy.