By Arshad Mohammed, washingtonpost.com
Friday, December 2, 2005
The question -- and analysts say it is wide open -- is whether consumers bombarded with sound and images want to open their home to yet another screen and put themselves in front of a camera when they answer the phone.Whether we admit to it or not we are a visual people. Always have been. And this is not necessarily a bad thing. Since recorded history we've been entertained by and communicated via the visual arts - from enacted stories to Greek drama; from wondering minstrels to slapstick vaudeville; from movies and television to internet and vidcasts.
The real question is not whether we'll embrace the video phone. Of course we will. It's only a matter of time. The issue is what will we do with it once it becomes common place. Like any tool, the video phone can be a blessing or curse. Will we use it to build up or tear down? Will it be hijacked by marketers or remain relatively free of spam, porn, and viagra commercials?
These questions are not new either. We've been wrestling with shameless commercialism since recorded history. After all, didn't you know that Arm & Hammer sponsored Homer's epics? Hello. The story was about the Trojan war after all.
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