Sunday, June 2, 2019

Is It Live or Is It Memorex?

If you were born in the 60's like me, you will remember the commercials for Memorex. The hook was to see if a person could tell the difference between a live performance, and the recorded performance. In one of the better commercials it showed Ella Fitzgerald singing a note live - and it would shatter a wine glass. Then, the recorded voice on Memorex was so good that it too, would shatter the glass. A pretty cool visual, I still remember those ads vividly.

This takes me down the rabbit hole of live vs. recorded. Asynchronous communications vs. synchronous communications. Technology that allows us to do "live" meetings from around the world, rather than buying a plane ticket.

If you ever had the experience of seeing a Broadway play "live" today's blog will resonate with you. Live, in real-time, is always amazing. It is unfolding right there in front of you. There is the chance for an error. There will "always" be something that is just slightly different than a previous performance. Being there live, you are part of the performance.

Ever see a famous comedian live? And then see the same comedian on a recorded HBO special? Not the same thing. Both events could be amazing, and both can be very entertaining. But there is something about a LIVE performance, in-person, that is recorded differently in our brains.

When we have a "live" experience, whether it be a concert, a sporting event, or even attending a business meeting, something very different happens when you are physically present, rather than attending "live" via technology. This is why even though they can be expensive, corporations frequently host off-sites and events LIVE for their staff and teams. Streaming media is amazing, but LIVE is always better.

I noticed that if I meet someone LIVE, in person, any future interactions with that person (Zoom meetings, phone calls, email or texts) seem more real. If I first meet someone virtually, and then meet them LIVE at a trade show, or at a corporate event in the future, it is not the same result. LIVE sets the anchor. LIVE forces us to take in the entire sensory experience including visual, auditory, tactile, kinesthetic, and olfactory.

I will probably never visit Mount Everest LIVE. I would however, enjoy a deep, immersive virtual trip to the summit via technology. But only because going LIVE is really not going to happen. Same goes for me walking on Mars. But I MIGHT visit the Louvre Museum, and I HAVE BEEN to MoMA. If technology allows me to experience an adventure the only way possible (virtually) then wonderful. But whenever possible, we should use technology to first attempt to make things happen LIVE, then if not live at least try for synchronous communications. And if not synchronous, then shoot for the highest quality of asynchronous communications possible. talks are amazing. But it would be even more amazing to be in the audience, LIVE.

If technology allow us to do something restorative, visit a national park, exercise, talk to a real human being, listen to music, spend time LIVE with our family, fantastic. Our brains need to experience things LIVE, and we humans don't seem to get that benefit of restoration from living in our virtual worlds.

Use technology to increase the quality and frequency of your LIVE experiences. Use technology to travel better, to have more LIVE quality time at your destination. Watch your kid's school play LIVE, as the obvious choice. Experience more things live. Have more synchronous conversations. Keep your smartphone in your pocket a little longer. Post less videos on social media - let the high fidelity recording last in your brain just a little longer before you share it online.

Make having LIVE experiences and memories be your #1 priority at home and at work. Use your technology to maximize and amplify your LIVE experiences within the real world, not to replace them.

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