Driving home the other day, I was fascinated by an NPR story on the use of cell phones to share pictures at concerts.
While a number of concert-goers phoned in to say how annoying it was to see thousands of small blue screens held overhead and people screaming into cellphones during the show, that wasn’t the real issue.
Turns out, it was the bands who were complaining, but not about what you think…
It wasn’t about stealing footage or intellectual property protection. Or, even putting images and movies of the concert immediately up on YouTube the moment the cell-phone bandit got home. The complaint ran much deeper than that.
And, it has it’s corollary in the explosion of social media.
Instead, the complaint was about the impact of live photo and video journaling on your ability to be present in the moment, drink in the juicy energy and participate fully in the extraordinary “collective conciousness” that infuses the crowd swaying, singing and connecting with a common experience.
It wasn’t a money thing for the bands, but a consciousness thing. As long as people were focused on “documenting” the experience, they couldn’t be fully “in” the experience.
I wonder if a similar thing is happening the proliferation of micro-messaging?
Millions of people now live-journal nearly every happening, thought and moment in their lives on Twitter, Plurk, Friendfeed, Socialthing and dozens of other services. So much so that I know a number of folks who literally rush to the computer of cell phone the seconds something remotely interesting begins to happen, out of an almost addictive need to report what’s going down.
Question is, is this activity turning us more into journalists of our own lives and less into participants?
When we tweet everything we are experiencing in a conversation, concert or gathering of likeminded people, does the very activity of tweeting somehow take away from our ability to enjoy the bigger activity?
Does it diminish our ability to be fully present in a way that lessens the power, the value, the enduring impact of the live experience?
Does it stop the core conversation about which we’re reporting from going to the next level?
Does it place documenting over experiencing?
This is what’s on my mind today.
As always, let’s discuss…
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