Wednesday, March 30, 2016
By MICHAEL WALSHMarch roared in lionlike, as the world's all-news networks focused their attention on the Super Tuesday presidential primary elections in the U.S. The third month of 2016 offered up a cacophony of explosive headlines from around the world, as social, political, racial and religious differences produced a series of violent events.
Oh, and Twitter turned 10.
An online social networking service that enables users to send and read short 140-character messages called "tweets," Twitter marked its 10th anniversary a week ago Monday (March 21). Much was made of how the company's co-founder, Jack Dorsey, inaugurated the technology with the five-word message "just setting up my twttr". Chat show participants prattled on about how our social, political, racial and religious interactions have been changed as a result.
Listening to the "experts," I found myself wondering what Marshall McLuhan (or, for that matter James Burke, creator of the 1985 BBC-TV series The Day the Universe Changed) would have made of it all. Doing a little checking of my own, I discovered that media mavens actually have a lot to celebrate in 2016.
A generation of change began in 1996. That year, we saw the introduction of Personal Data Assistants (PDAs) by such companies as Palm and Nokia, setting off the first wave of mobile devices that are now known as Smartphones. But wait, as they say in the early morning infomercials, there's more.
In 1996 in Japan, Toshiba introduced the DVD video format. In Britain, online film buff Col Needham incorporated the Internet Movie Database Ltd. Although I've never acquired a mobile phone, I consider DVDs and the IMDb among the 20th Century's great inventions.
The Internet, a pretty good idea overall, became more useful as a mass medium with the addition of the Google web search engine, the core product of a company incorporated in 1998. In 2001, life online improved yet again with the launch of Wikipedia, and life in general benefited from the introduction of that marvellous little music machine, the iPod.
I'm less enthusiastic about Facebook, the social networking service launched in 2004, or the YouTube video sharing site created in 2005. That's just me, though.
Told that I really needed to have a Reeling Back Facebook page, I said OK — as long as someone else would set it up and run it. Someone else did, and does. And I'm grateful.
Tech-wise, I have enough on my hands just working away at this website. And the Reeling Back archive continues to grow, with the last 10 additions being:
LISTEN UP: THE LIVES OF QUINCY JONES
THE COLOR PURPLE
JOHN JULIANI (interview)
ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD
THE NEPTUNE FACTOR
THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE (1983)
THE THREE CABALLEROS
THE RAINBOW BOYS
DONALD PLEASENCE (interview) — In Vancouver for the 1973 world premiere of The Rainbow Boys, a B.C.-made film in which he starred, Donald Pleasence told me of his preference for live theatre, the disappointments of film production, emerging Canadian cinema and life as a major movie villain. (Posted March 8)