Social Media Reader: Gin, Television and Social Surplus

Reading the section Gin, Television and Social Surplus on Social Media Reader made me more aware of how many hours people consume their time watching television. “The Internet-connected population watches roughly a trillion hours of TV a year. That’s about five times the size of the annual U.S. TV consumption,” said Clay Shirky. This statistic is mind-blowing and is a reason why I’d rather spend more of my time not watching television and more time producing and sharing. I find myself on the outside spectrum of people who consume their days with watching television. I rarely watch TV unless American Horror Story, Awkward, or breaking news is on. Okay and maybe when the Real Housewives of NJ are on too. But I feel that I try to avoid watching TV as much as possible so I don’t get sucked into watching it for longer. I’d rather blog and find things to do via Internet and keep myself busy and entertained rather than sit in front of a TV for hours on end.

I feel that Shirky is saying if we take time away from TV we can come up with new ideas. For example, how Vasco Furtado a professor in Brazil that created a Wiki map for crime in Brazil by putting a push-pin on a Google map. Yes, this information already exists by word of mouth but having concrete evidence of crime in an area is something new. I enjoyed the way Shirky ended the section “If we carve out a little bit of the cognitive surplus and deploy it here, could we make a good thing happen?”


  1. Yes Television does seem to just suck up time, I am guilty of Netflix binging. I agree it would be much more productive to take a percentage of that time to produce, create, and share!

  2. I do try to avoid as much television as possible, but their is certain shows that I do get sucked into watching! We don’t realize that instead of consuming our time watching television, we can be doing more productive things with our time.

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