I’m hitting channel after channel, trying to find a tune I can listen to along the way. After previewing about 10 stations I like, I finally heard a song I liked and I took my hands off the button. And so then it hit me, are there too many channels for me to pick from? Too many choices? It’s not driving me batty, but it sure makes me think.
I see this as a growing trend, and it’s ubiquitous to our society, more more more choices, less focus on the good ones. What do I mean? We get an overload of choices these days, everything is a smorgasboard of options for us to choose from, and it seems like the pure number of options are staggering, a cup that has long since overflowed.
This is true of basic things like foods and drinks, and even more easy to see when you look at Cable TV, and even my satellite radio. To put this into perspective, you remember when there were only about 20 TV stations? Going a little further back, there were only 10 spots on the channel dial on most TVs, those were your choices!
Fast forward to today, and there’s a fuqload of choices, and I’m beginning to think that it’s too many! Too much to handle, too many for us to really process in any kind of qualitative way. We’re forced to look at the highest level and choose, rather than examine each options for all that it’s worth.
On both my car stereo and my home tv, there are so many channels that you can just keep hitting the NEXT button and you can do that all damn day. You’ll find yourself running in a big circle, but you can and that seems to be the overriding point. With a local or regional area, regular or “Terrestrial radio” gives you about 8-10 options for different kinds of music, news, talk-radio, etc. With my Sirius, it’s 184 choices!
Now I’m not whining about that here, selection is key to any subscription service; I love my Sirius! There’s 10+ rock stations, jazz, hip-hop, sports, country, etc etc etc. I could say etc about 10 more times, but hey – even I would get annoyed if I read it, so I won’t write it.
How come I can’t be content with the station I’m listening to? Because I know there are 100+ more choices, waiting for me to try them out.
Within each sector you get a bunch of slightly different options, say what KIND of rock you like. I dig it man, I really do, but the feeling I get is the same confusion I get when I goto a restaurant and there are 100 different things I can order from their epic menu. I get the “can’t choose because there are too many things here” syndrome.
There’s a fix for that with satellite radio, we have presets on the radio, so I can choose my favorites and quickly jump to them. Sounds good right? Candidly, this is where my discontent begins. So I have my presets, and now I find myself to be dissatisfied, so I start hitting the button to look at other channels.
Maybe I’m kvetching here… I just want some simplicity in my life, but I can’t have that anymore.
I turn on the TV at home and I’m surfing in and out of the channel guide MENU, trying to skip over all the crap so I can get to the good stuff. I don’t know how many QVC or home shopping network channels we really need, but clearly there are TOO MANY.
I only speak enough Spanish to get me slapped in a bar or embarrass myself thoroughly in a foreign language, so I there’s another 50+ channels I don’t need, and while I watch CNN to stay informed, I really don’t need 10 different versions of that channel, do I?
Can I just pick from say, five choices?
There are only a few things left in life that we haven’t figured out how to dilute with options. When you order a steak at a restaurant, it’s still rare, medium, or well done, right?
By Louis Wing