Checkbox News, day 3
Wednesday, April 25, 2007 by Dave Winer.
An interesting discussion about Checkbox News yesterday, although it was overshadowed by the michegas about Wired and Arrington, both of whom took cheap shots, Arrington's in the name of friendship. I echo his sentiment, with friends like that who needs flamebait?
When I say no more Anna Nicole, I don't get no more Anna Nicole. It isn't a request to the network that they consider showing less of Anna Nicole, it's like an on-off switch, or a checkbox (hence the name) -- when unchecked, the flow is off.
So it's a user interface control, a preference, not merely a feedback mechanism.
Of course if no one has Anna Nicole Smith checked, they'll stop producing news about her, so it is a feedback mechanism in that sense. But if I don't like the garbage they pass off as news, I can watch the stuff I am interested in.
Dan Gillmor says he votes by changing the channel, but that doesn't work when all the networks are covering the same idiotic press conference, where the DNA results of the paternity test for Anna Nicole's baby are being announced, or on the first day back at Virginia Tech when they're holding yet another prayer vigil with orange and maroon balloons. I think it would be nice if they had such ceremonies without the network cameras there, and of course I turn off the TV when they all do that, but see the previous item about Iraq, there is actually news going on when they go into 24-hour hand-wringing mode, and TV is a good way to get news, if only you could get some.
And Trudy Schuett offered a great idea via email -- a section where I say what kind of commercials I want and don't want. I'd turn off the Head-on commercials (got the message, hate the product), and turn on the Apple-PC commercials (they're so damned funny!) and I'd like to get commercials for kitchen appliances (I need some) and home entertainment systems, and travel deals to Europe. This allows Checkbox News to be part of my vision of how advertising works in the 21st century, it's information, not intrusion. Yehi.