TV-Internet Symbiosis

I’ll probably always remember the first time I heard the term “symbiosis.” I was pretty young; I’m guessing around eight or nine years old.

I had found a copy of one of my father’s college biology textbooks. In there was a picture of an alligator or crocodile (let’s say crocodile) with its jaws wide open and a bird of some kind picking at the reptile’s teeth. I asked my dad why the crocodile didn’t eat the bird. His response was something along these lines: “It’s called symbiosis. The crocodile needs the bird to clean its teeth, and the bird needs food.”

Based on how long that atypical childhood memory has stuck with me, I’m guessing my father, an accountant by trade, would have made a pretty good teacher.

That’s a (very) long way of introducing a biology term to describe what the NYT reports is starting to happen with TV and the Internet, in particular, social media …

Remember when the Internet was supposed to kill off television?

That hasn’t been the case lately, judging by the record television ratings for big-ticket events. The Vancouver Olympics are shaping up to be the most-watched foreign Winter Games since 1994. This year’s Super Bowl was the most-watched program in United States history, beating out the final episode of “M*A*S*H” in 1983. Awards shows like the Grammys are attracting their biggest audiences in years.

Many television executives are crediting the Internet, in part, for the revival.

Blogs and social Web sites like Facebook and Twitter enable an online water-cooler conversation, encouraging people to split their time between the computer screen and the big-screen TV.