Sunday, December 13, 2020

Curtain Call

 [If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways.]

A curtain call (also known as a walkdown or a final bow) occurs at the end of a performance when one or more performers return to the stage to be recognized by the audience for the performance. 

In film and TV, the term "curtain call" is used to describe a sequence at the end of the film and before the closing credits, in which brief clips, stills, or outtakes featuring each main character are shown in sequence with the actor's name captioned. 

I'm old enough to remember the last episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which featured a theater-style curtain call at the conclusion of their series finale. The cast broke character, and it was very emotional. It was like the cast was actually in my home. Like good friends saying "so long, see you soon." 

This week I participated in the Intrado Virtual Digital Summit - A Virtual Event for Communicators. Last year we held the event in NYC and streamed the event to the world. This year, due to COVID, the event was 100% virtual. It was a full day of presentations, from people living in every time zone. 

For years, technology has been used to deliver high-impact content and virtual events. Marketing, Public Relations, Internal Communications, Investor Relations - all have been using technology to connect with an audience for a long time now. But since COVID, virtual events, product launches, investor days, marketing webinars, employee town halls - these were (and still are) 100% in the cloud. Virtual or nothing, at least for now. 

Ever since the COVID lockdown, I have been working from home. Last year, I would spend one or two days a week at our 11 Times Square office, which is 23 miles east of my New Jersey home. We have been forced to go totally virtual this year. No Times Square, no Javits Center. No Lunch 'n Learns, no Sunset Seminars on amazing NYC rooftop bars. 

But I realized something this week. My presentation was only 15 minutes long. I chose to use no slides, no PowerPoint. Just me, speaking from the heart, to a few million friends. "Welcome to my home, North America" is how I felt. And right before I started to speak, I remembered Andy Warhol's words - in the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes", which appeared in the program for a 1968 exhibition of his work. 

I decided to just speak - to the world - from the heart - for 15 minutes. 

My Home Office - Virtual Backdrop

All of the presentations for the day were very well done. Virtual Event Technology has truly come of age. In the future, once we start having events LIVE from New York City again, I am sure that all events shall be hybrid events - live - supported by virtual technology. The power of LIVE and VIRTUAL will be the way we live, learn, work and play in the global cloud economy - now and in the future. 

There was no curtain call for the presenters of the Intrado Virtual Digital Summit - A Virtual Event for Communicators. But I do see that I have 1,437 new connections on LinkedIn that were not there the day before. I guess my new jokes were not so bad after all. 

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