When it’s live, it’s better

I’m in a new country right now for the first time in a long time. Reminds me of some thoughts I had last year on “being there.”

As data networks facilitate higher speed connections, remote experiences have become richer. Later this month, college basketball fans can watch March Madness live at their desks instead of having to constantly refresh a scoreboard page or linger in the break room where CNBC has been anonymously switched to CBS.

But for me I’ll always remember sitting in the nosebleeds at the Georgia Dome, cheering for teams to which I had no connection. 

These days, scholars study Woodstock as a cultural phenomenon. Amazon has almost 300 history books on the three day weekend. Taping culture was propagated by fans of the Grateful Dead, Phish, Dave Matthews Band and others, who shared experiences with one another. Pay-per-view allows us to stream HD concerts into our homes.

But for me, I’ll always remember being close enough to see the texture of Eddie Vedder’s jacket at Riverbend, the long drives home from Rupp Arena with ears ringing from arena rock, not being crushed in a mosh pit at FDR Park.

Think about industry conferences and events – we used to read the trade press for recaps on large convocations; then we had blog posts, evolving into liveblogging, and today there’s real-time tweets and Ustreaming citizen journalists.

But this exponentially increased flow of information does not replace the value of in-person, real-life experiences. There’s an old proverb that states, “teach a person to fish and they’re fed for a lifetime.” It’s about process – and through process one gains experience.


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  1. That’s right Peter. You can watch pretty much every Major sporting event or TED Talk on TV or online…but people are willing to pay thousands to see them in person. The value of the live in person experience is immeasurable.

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