Knowledge Building: The Internet vs. Television

Sometime ago, I remember a friend and I were talking about the internet and television as sources of information, which one is more useful, which one gives us more knowledge and generally comparing the two mediums.

At the end of the discussion we reached the conclusion that the main difference between the internet and TV is that one, the internet, is a “Pull” medium, while the other, TV, is a “Push” one.

Online, you generally know what you’re looking for or you have a little idea about it, so you search for it and go to places where you can find it, something you can do pretty easily; which means that it’s you who is pulling the information, seeking it, finding it and using it.

As for television, you don’t have much control over what’s on, you get a series for example, then the news, then some documentary, then some music, …etc. Information is pushed your way, some of it you were looking for, some other stuff you weren’t necessarily seeking but that gains your interest anyway, and other stuff you just ignore.

Even though sometimes the dividing line isn’t as clear, if we try to look a little closer, we can more or less find it in most cases.

But what does that mean? Which is more useful?
A direct thought could be that maybe the internet is better suited for research, diving deeper into what we already know a bit about and getting the information we need; while on the other hand, TV is a better source for general knowledge and initiating us to new kinds of information, with all the different bits and pieces it pushes at us, given we’re open to all these different things.

And so, these two mediums more or less compliment each other in our knowledge-building process, filling up each other’s gaps.

For example, many times, I’d get a bit of information on TV that I didn’t know about before, that I might have never gotten otherwise, something I would find really interesting, and that I would go on to research in greater detail online.

What’s your opinion on all this?

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