Utrecht University hosted the one-day (New) Media and the United States conference that was organised by studentNASA (Netherlands American Studies Association).

I attended the workshop on the Future of Television, in which speakers William Urichhio, Jaap Kooijman and Britta Wielaard not only looked ahead but also turned their heads towards the past of television. Combining this knowledge with the developments of radio, telephone, film and internet, they predicted a future in which television would take over characteristics of other media in its development. This would mean incorporating the possibilities for own contributions, on-demand technology and niche markets.

At the closing session, which was a panel discussion between the main speakers, I was introduced to the wonders of Twitter for a large audience for the first time. Twitter messages with the hashtag #NMEDIAUS were displayed on a whiteboard next to the screen used for the presentations. It seems to me that this meta communication is mainly somewhat of a distraction. The screen presented an ongoing stream of wishes to close the door and comments on the looks and statements of moderator Marius Verhage.

The status of Twitter as jamming transmitter was tuned up by the fact that I could not read the tweets due to the distance between the screen at the far end of the room and myself. The audience’s attention was focussed on the tweets whenever people laughed or pointed out renewals to their neighbours. The delay that was already involved in this process was enlarged by the constant need to refresh the page on the phone of the person sitting next to me (I was lucky she was as near sighted as me).

Conclusion from this event: twitter walls are more of a background murmuring than a useful contribution to the discussion.

StudentNASA presents (New) Media and the United States.