BBC Three’s documentary about Hurricane Sandy as seen through the eyes of the Social Networks was very eye opening. Sandy will undoubtedly be remembered as the day Social Media came of age and forever overtook traditional media as the most immediate and powerful way of covering global news.
But there was something that worried me very deeply about that programme, and it was this: There appear to be millions and millions of people in the world who have not yet noticed what shape their TV screen is.
These people sit watching the telly hour after hour, day after day, year after year and yet somehow fail to notice that a TV screen is WIDER than it is TALL. So the video cameras in mobile phones are designed to shoot video in LANDSCAPE format. Not portrait format.
Why the hell do so many people STILL record videos on their phones, while hold the bloody things THE WRONG WAY AROUND. Clearly, owning a smart phone does not necessarily make you a smart person.
Have you ever seen a TV cameraman turn his camera on its side to film something? No. Do you ever turn your head at a 90 degree angle to the TV screen when you are watching a programme? No.
Even more surprisingly, this doesn’t seem to bother people. They eagerly upload their videos to YouTube, or send them in to TV stations, and then watch proudly as their material is aired in its original, upright format, with two very large black borders on either side of the picture. Do NONE of them ever think to themselves, “Mm, I really should have turned that phone the other way around, so that the picture in the viewfinder was THE SAME FUCKING SHAPE AS MY TV?!” If you do this, or have ever done this, then you have the IQ of an ant.