Livin’ The On Demand Life

What’s goin’ on, peoples?

We are in the age of On Demand. Not just for rich folks who are able to afford a butler or valet, on demand (especially in media) has reached a tipping point in our culture.  Hey, you missed that show that’s becoming a thing? Well spend an afternoon while watching it online on Netflix or Hulu. Want to enjoy music legally but don’t want to buy said music? Pandora, Spotify, and iTunes Radio are at your service.

Just take your pick.

I was reading THIS ARTICLE the other day about McDonald’s possibly toying (no pun intended) with the idea of installing 3D printers at their establishments for Happy Meal use. In theory, if a child wants a toy that Mickey D’s doesn’t have, they would be able to “print” a toy that the child would appreciate, (wait for it) on demand!

If only they did that with burgers
If only they did that with burgers

I’m torn. On one hand I’m all like “Whoa, that is crazy!  The future is now!” While at the same time I’m also sayin’, “Back in my day, when the toy was sold out, it was sold out. There’s no crying in baseball!”

You know, because apparently I quote lines from Madonna films when I’m being crotchety.

It raises questions about how we consume media these days. No, I’m not going to postulate that we are in a new “instant gratification culture.” To be honest, I’m not sure if this is a new trait of our society or now technology can actually make that sort of thing possible. A generation ago, a writer who decided to go to a vanity press had to determine how many copies of his or her book s/he wanted before purchasing them. Then came the difficult task in getting the copies sold. With on demand (sometimes called ‘print on demand’ or POD) publishing, a copy of a book is made when purchased at a point of sale.  That’s crazy as it is, and I’m not even talking about the eBook revolution. If available, you can have “War and Peace” on your handheld device in as little as three clicks and thirty seconds. Seriously, “War and Peace.” When I was young, the library considered taking out that book a “special loan” and you had to return it in less time than the other books.

Any bet a generation from now we would probably be asking, “What’s a library?”

My name is Flobo and I want it now!

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