One of television's greatest promises was instantaneous transmission of sights and sounds all over the world; thus, for people who couldn't travel to see an event, the event traveled to them. This is arguably one of the largest ParadigmShift(s) that ever altered the world as we knew it.
This goal wasn't introduced by television. The fiery death of the Hindenburg created the desire to have news as it happened, as it was the first (melo)dramatic event where journalists were on hand as it unfolded. But while radio and newspaper covered that, television was probably the most successful at this ever, even more so than the internet is today. I give you the coronation of QueenElizabeth? which was the first major televised event in Canada (people actually rushed to buy TV sets to watch it), or the first steps man walked on the moon as examples.
The original purpose was admittedly a grand idea. The stitching together of diverse peoples into a brotherhood (siblinghood?) of man. Nowadays, a little more cynical, certainly postmodern, we see what the common context really is. Click zombies relating sitcom lives they vicariously experienced the night before, endlessly reciting badly written scripts in place of original, insightful dialog. Indeed, even the late-breaking news has been reduced to sound bites and seven-minute headlines.
Moreover, both state and corporate control has eroded television's power of the people into a propaganda machine like no other; the simplicity and totality of the power brought on by civilization's now almost complete devotion to television to the exclusion of all other media. Indeed, the other media typically tune into television. For example, newspapers have less content and more pie charts trying to simulate the immediate visceral effect television has on your lower brain.
And as a final blow, the GlobalVillage is becoming no more. The explosion of mutant television channels has left people with more choice than they know what to do with. Everyone has their own preferences, slowly fracturing the audience into their own separate universes. This is touted as a GoodThing (tm); here in Canada, Rogers Cable sells "meTV"--television for the personality. And don't look to the internet as a saviour because it's too competitive, too fractious by design. Nuclear weapon safe.
However, the funny thing is, the corporate world is globalizing. While this is usually called the Americanization of the world, the world is also changing America. Through economic freedom comes IntellectualFreedom? if only because it's more efficient. Thank the world for democratic capitalism, the most efficient CollectiveIntelligence ever invented. From HiveMind to CollectiveIntelligence, from GlobalVillage to GlobalBrain.
[This has been lifted wholly from Wiki:GlobalVillage]
We are surrounded by charities asking for our help in solving a problem; adverts saying we should think carefully about a particular decision; and people, in general, asking us to do things. It is tempting to think, sometimes, that we should give careful consideration to every decision we make - but have we really got time to examine the comparitive merits of different brands of tooth floss?
[The above text is mostly copied from [an article entitled 'OMTWA'] which I wrote over 2 years ago, and is insufficiently refactored to fit this page, but RealWorld concerns stop me from editing further right now - RowanCollins]