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Burriss on Media: New Technology

Dr. Larry Burriss

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (BURRISS)  --  My son came home from school one time and we got to talking about how his day had gone. I asked him what he had done in music class, and he told me they had talked about some of the old composers and musicians. I was most impressed as I thought how great it was that my son was learning about Beethoven, Bach and the classics. So I asked him who they had talked about. He said, "You know, Dad, the old ones . . . Simon and Garfunkel and the Rolling Stones." We quickly dropped the discussion.

But what later struck me was that a lot of the technologies our children think are old-school, really haven't been around all that long.

Did you know, for example, that it's only been 73 years since the first presidential appearance on television? On April 30, 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt become the first head of state to appear on television when he spoke for about 2 minutes at the New York's World Fair. That means there are people around today, probably lots of people, in fact, who can remember a time before there was television, and who can remember a time before televised presidential press conferences.

Or, let's take another example. On April 30, 1926, commercial service of sending photographs across the Atlantic via radio was inaugurated as the first photograph was sent from London to the New York Times. That means there are still people alive today who were born before wirephotos, faxes and the Internet.

When we think about the old times and what communication was like only a few short years ago, it's no wonder everything seems to be moving at light speed. Ask yourself this, how many of your children have used a rotary dial phone, seen an outdoor television antenna or been to a drive-in movie?

But you know what: all of those old things were once new, just like all of the old composers were once new. So I had the last laugh on my son. I reminded him that the music he was listening to just a few years ago was the music of last century.

I'm Larry Burriss