Stuck In the Web

How much of your day do you spend online? Honestly, how many hours? The proportion of time online to offline in my typical week day is shocking. There is the roughly seven hours online while in the office, then probably another combined hour of home surfing and mobile browsing. So I’ll assume I’m online for approximately eight hours of the day. Also I will assume that I get a full eight hours of sleep; a wishful assumption but appropriate for this example. That leaves another eight hours of the day that I am conscious; doing whatever else it is that I do. Alas, on a typical week day I spend as much time online as I do offline or sleeping. What did people do before the internet, anyways?

I would expect my proportion is similar, or probably becoming similar, to the majority of professionals in America. So it makes sense that traditional media is on a moribund slope while online media is on a burgeoning incline, right? Well then, why is the primary online guerilla starting to run good old fashioned television ads? That’s right, Google, the search engine company, is touting the benefits of Chrome, the web browser, by means of television advertising spots. Check out the “The web is what you make of it” spots, It Gets Better and Dear Sophie. The commercials are poignant, using emotional appeal to encourage viewers to form a relationship with the speedy web browser Chrome. Though Google is using traditional methods to promote new media technologies, I believe that this underscores, not enervates, the inevitable demise of traditional media.

The reason is that Google recognizes that the majority of people still paying attention to or even watching commercials at all are those that have not fully migrated to the online world yet. Google is reaching out to these laggards in an attempt to plant the Chrome seed before alternative browsers are actively discovered. As the New York Times states, “the more people use the Web, the more they use Google.” If users start off using Chrome, they are pretty much guaranteed to use other Google products as well, which is the ultimate goal. More or less, Google is utilizing a dying medium to promote the very thing that is killing it.

– Kenneth Hurta