Reflections on the second screen
The cords have been cut
So this was a while ago—the turn of the last century. I was in the last years of college and one of the many tech innovations of the time was the growing use of wi-fi instead of wired solutions like dial-up or Ethernet. But those with wi-fi cards in their tower desktops would still be likely to be using that computer in some sort of in-wall desk—or at the very last have any forward view largely lost to the computer and monitor setup. So in order to move into this “second-screen” era, it was required to have a wi-fi capable laptop: now one could look to the computer and then to the TV (still mostly SD picture at the time, of course).
Now the novelty of this technological capability was probably enough, but then—didn’t this expand the possibilities of technological experience? Or something? A few decades later, immersed in tech from smartphones to tablets to laptops (and even desktop computers still), we can easily dismiss the folly of pursuing this early version of the second screen.
With “screen time” now a point of contention [with built-in tools to curb it] and the endless cross-over of personal and work pushed by corporate managers assisted by technology and accelerated by the pandemic, and laptops relegated for many people to the margins as work-only devices while streaming has rendered TV-watching obsolete, the imagery of the laptop and TV is already a rather antiquated one1, where it is hard to suggest how revolutionary it seemed a couple decades ago.