Actions and plans that we pursue are backed by a form and a concept. The form is the physical manifestation of the act or comprise the steps taken to complete an objective. The concept, however, is the idea that is the essence of the action—it becomes the foundation of the objective. For instance, the concept of a library was to create a physical space where books, in categories and by genre, are shelved. The form of a library has changed over time from a physical place to one available online where PDF versions of books can be accessed. The idea, in both aspects, is to help readers enlighten their thoughts and to develop a reading habit.
When it comes to morning shows, our media networks have adapted the form and not the concept. Historically speaking, the concept of breakfast television began in the USA in 1952. Its purpose was to update the audience about the major happenings in and across the city including news about politics, sports, business, weather, and traffic updates among others. These shows are still following a similar format. In Pakistan, television networks have adopted the form while ignoring the concept altogether. The form has been mirrored for the local audience but the concept has been tarnished beyond recognition. The format does not include any thought-provoking insight or news but presents glamour, celebrity moments and weddings, dance numbers, cooking segments, makeup trends, etc.
We live in an age where concepts and forms have merged, which should not have been the case. The youth, in particular, is unable to differentiate between the two. Take for instance the TikTok craze enveloping the world and especially in Pakistan. Nearly four decades ago, actors were carefully carved out from a rigorous process that included judging their performance in theatrical plays and on radio shows. They had to perform diligently in television dramas at a time when editing methods were pretty primitive and social media was non-existent. The concept in this case was for the aspiring actors to learn the trade and become a success. Today, unfortunately, the form has been mirrored by the TikTokers that promote themselves as content creators. They incorporate glamour, colour, and facial expressions by lip singing songs or recreating scenes from TV and cinema. The concept of learning and re-learning is lost in the process. Those TikTokers enjoying a higher reach and likes are considered to be given a role in television dramas. Those who want to act out of passion are left behind.
Let’s take the example of eating out. The concept is to have a good time with yourself or with your colleagues, family, and friends. It is never about devouring food until your belly busts. It is about the quality time you enjoy to break the monotonous clatter of your daily schedule. We only follow the form of eating out. It includes ordering food more than we can consume and spending more time taking pictures for self-satisfaction by posting on social media. Similarly, the concept of a car is to transport people and cargo. However, we are more interested in how a car should look so that we are accepted in our social circle. The concept of performing a task must be adhered to at all times. This becomes the basis for completing an objective.