Living in a World on Demand Part One

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Image by Netflix

By Jay Ayer

How are you reading this article? Odds are you came across it while browsing the internet. This article could have been published today, yesterday, or even a decade ago, but that would not make much of a difference to you. Why? We live in a world on demand. Anything we want to watch, read, listen to, and buy, is at our fingertips and  only a press of a button away. Only a few short years ago, few people had access to this on demand world  as we do now. I am a part of the last generation that began life without most of the services we use today. I am amazed by the fact that most people who grow up from this point onward will never know a world without smartphones, without Facebook and YouTube, without Netflix and Spotify. When I was younger, just before the boom of on demand services, I would always dream of having the ability to watch any movie I wanted at any time, but now that I currently have that ability, I rarely use it. Recently, I have begun to wonder why I don’t use these services, and why I don’t take advantage of the uncountable forms of entertainment I have access to. I believe that I do not use these services as often as I am able to because I am still used to a life without them.

I believe that because I was raised mostly before on demand services were readily available to me, I am used to watching just what was on TV. I often find myself catching the middle of a movie like Forrest Gump (a movie I have seen over thirty times in my life) on TV and staying on that channel until the end of the movie. However, at any point in time I can switch to a new movie on Netflix, one that I have been wanting to watch for years, and I can never push myself to watch it. Odds are, if I come across a movie that is already playing, I will finish it, but I find difficulty in choosing a movie to begin and finish in one sitting. I spend most of my time on services like Netflix and Amazon Prime looking at the seemingly infinite number of shows and movies to pick which ones look interesting, and I end up spending two hours not choosing anything. For me, the library of films and shows I have access to is overwhelming.

The best comparison I can make to an issue in the real world involves money. Many people dream of having an infinite supply of cash all their lives, but if we did have infinite money, eventually it would grow tiresome. There would come a time when we would either get bored of what we have or get overwhelmed by the number of things we could buy. I have reached this point of overwhelming when it comes to media like music, television, and film. Because we live in a world on demand, there is so much to watch and listen to that we often take the endless supply of entertainment at our disposal for granted. I recognize this modern technological age for what it is, and I personally take on demand services for granted by saying, “I won’t start this now. I can watch it whenever I want.”

Living in a world on demand is not necessarily a bad prospect. On demand services are some of the best modern marvels of our world, but the ability to watch anything at any time leaves me with the inability to ever actually choose something to watch. As I have said, I am a part of the last generation that will ever probably know of another life before the rise of on demand services, and we know the difference between the world we were born into and the world on demand.