Thursday, 17 August 2017
Englishman in Dubrovnik Englishman in Dubrovnik

Being an analogue person in a digital world means being a loser

By  Mark Thomas Mar 18, 2017

“So this couple had much more luck solving the task as they were allowed to speak to people in the streets;” explained the German TV producer in front of me on the Stradun. Dubrovnik has played host to many international travel documentaries in the past few years, but this latest one is a new idea. A crew from the German national broadcaster Deutsche Welle was currently filming a new travel show in southern Croatia and I bumped into them when they arrived in Dubrovnik.

Now I have to admit it was quite by chance. I saw a couple of guys carrying expensive looking cameras and one lady holding one of those big fluffy microphones on a stick, you know the ones that look like a terrier on a spike. So being the generally curious person that I am I asked what they were doing? I didn’t expect the answer that I received. “It is a new kind of travel show, a kind of travel and game show wrapped in one,” smiled the friendly German producer.

Two couples have to find their way around a city and solve various tasks. However there is a twist. One couple has to do it “old school” armed only with books, magazines, newspapers, basically analogue travellers. Whilst the other couple have a digital approach, they are allowed to only use smart phones, tablets, websites and other online equipment. It is a battle between 1960’s travel and 2000’s travel. And the other twist is that the digital couple aren’t allowed to speak to people on the street, whilst the “old school” couple can. Of course my first question was – it seems a little unfair, the analogue couple have no chance.

There was a wry smile from the producer; I am guessing she didn’t want to give away too much. “Well you would be surprised. We have just been in Makarska and one of the tasks there was to find someone famous,” she smiled. Ok, that is a tough task, is there anyone famous in Makarska at all! So the “old school” couple literally just walked up to someone in the street and asked. After about ten minutes they found the home of a famous chef. Whereas the digital crew had problems. If you have ever tried Googling famous people in Makarska you would know why.

According to Wikipedia you have a monk who died in 1760, so no chance of knocking on his door. There is the footballer Alen Bokšić, but who knows where he lives with all his millions. And rather oddly the Russian chess champion Garry Kasparov, who after becoming a naturalised Croatian citizen in 2014 presumably used an address in Makarska, again good luck finding him, he is on the run from Putin, and if Putin can’t find him no one can!

So the digital couple used their heads and Googled Radio Makarska and asked the DJ live on the radio if he knew the address of a famous person nearby. Oddly enough the DJ gave the address of another DJ who works for the same radio station; I am not so sure that being a Radio Makarska DJ counts as being famous. So the analogue couple won that round. However it seemed from the rest of the questions I asked that the digital couple had won every other round.

For example in Dubrovnik they had a task of finding how long the Stradun is. The digital duo found the answer as fast as their fingers could type into their smart phones, or around 30 seconds. But the elderly travellers were flicking through guide books, reading sign posts and asking people in the street. “It is amazing how many people gave us different answers,” said the couple. Yes, another lost round for the old school duo. An interesting travel show which only goes to highlight the death of books! And probably the death of newspapers!

Well nothing we didn’t know already, but the German TV program was hammering another nail in the coffin of the written word...as opposed to the typed word. And I have to be honest I can’t remember the last time I bought a guide book, well if you don’t include guide apps for my smart phone. I just don’t touch much paper anymore, which is probably good news for the rain forest; the only paper I regularly touch is toilet paper. So we wait to see the travel/game show on air.

Apparently, at least according to the friendly German lady, the program will be aired on German national television in the summer. So my final question to you is – how long is the Stradun – and don’t just open Google!

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