Bye bye Chinese Whispers, new Media is an essential part of our life

July 11, 2011

On June 25th I set off for 2 weeks of relaxation in the surf capital of Europe, Biarritz in France, the only catch being, my husband had challenged me to no TV, no newspapers and to my disgust no online activity, everything from Gmail, Twitter, Linked In and shock horror Facebook had been banned. My husband thinks I’m addicted, I like to think I’m keeping up to date, we will beg to differ.

Week one passed off relatively well, I managed to sneak the odd peek at Gmail and Twitter without him noticing, I follow RTE and the Irish Times on Twitter and surely it would’ve been unprofessional of me to arrive back in work and be recommending the News of the World for plans when the publication no longer existed, at least that was my excuse if I was caught!

Week two, I had forgotten my charger, my battery died and I could hardly kick up a fuss about needing to charge my smart phone since I didn’t need it, my husband had a watch to tell the time, a phone for emergencies, a camera to take photos and we had brought books that could supplement app entertainment – I had no excuse. So, how did i gratify my “addiction”, could I supplement it with sun filled days and Rosé on the deck?

Just like Darwin’s species- I adapted to my situation, my mother and sister arrived for our 2nd week, they brought with them the verbal edition of last week’s news and Saturday’s Irish Times. I thought I’d ration out the Irish Times and read a section a morning, however, the truth be had I never got beyond the magazine, as by Monday savouring the now “old news” wasn’t quite working for me as I secretly wondered what the Tweeters were saying about the News of the World scandal and how it was developing online.

So, what was I left with? I was left to forget the news and observe the media in my surroundings. Here’s what I noticed, the small regional airport at Pau has wide open spaces that are crying out for advertising, the seaside town of Biarritz has no imposing 48 sheets, metropoles or metropanels, the bus shelters have little more than a map of the area, McDonalds remains dominant with its usual logo and “500m away signage”, Rickshaws in Biarritz are not advertised on similarly with the Eco Cabs in Pau. I have no French but the recurring frequency of radio ads for Bricolage reminded me of our Harvey Norman equivalent. Lastly, I also noticed that the effects of the recession are also echoed in France most notably in the restaurants, whereby we have a variety of recessionista deals on offer to suit your budget or appetite needs.

So, despite it all I could survive without my media as week 2 attested to, however as I walked through arrivals in Dublin Airport after a very relaxing trip, I couldn’t help but notice the 3-D style airport formats that Bewley’s Hotel had all along the arrival tunnel, as you walked you felt like you were going in the door of the hotel- quite a dizzying effect. So as I landed on Irish soil once again I knew I was sucked back into the world of communication and felt a Tweet, comment or blog itching to comment on the Bewley’s formats and having done it now I feel gratified. Is media addictive? – possibly, Is it essential? Absolutely!



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