How Close are We?

Hi – for those who stopped by the last day or two and were disappointed that they could not find new content – sorry! I was traveling and on a very tight schedule! Things are back to normal again.

I did not get a chance to watch the opening ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics Games. This was mildly disappointing. Though, to be honest, there are so many “spectacular” media events these days, that I get bored with things that have nothing but spectacularity to offer.

In another way, I was pleased. I was pleased because missing this media event gave me a thought. I was reminded how far away I am from the event. I was pleasantly distant from it. It reminded of that wonderful story told by Claude Cockburn about Times journalists competing with each other each week to see who could write the most boring headline. Yes, things were different back in the 1920’s. He won once with this gem

Small Earthquake in Argentina. Not Many Dead

Here is Claud with this second wife Patricia

The point is not to be cruel or cold. But to have safety in distance from things that should not be in one’s consciousness. And remember – our consciousness is a precious and limited resource.

That got me thinking a bit more. I read quite a bit of content from the web. How close am I to this content? Or on an even basic level, how would I measure this?

Shakespeare came to mind. Not the Shakespeare that we think about — a man long dead. But the Shakespeare that Elizabethans experienced at the Globe Theatre. The plays then were very close to those who watched them. It seems that part of Shakespeare’s genius was to achieve this close proximity. It might have looked something like this

Then I thought of TV. Bringing entertainment into the living room and bedroom achieved a sort of fake closeness. Like Johnny Carson with this late night show. here’s johnny!

But what is close to me now? And what options do I have to create proximity to stuff that I need and want so that I can tune out what I don’t want? This was a promise that the early internet made. That it would bring us all “closer together”. But has it?

Interesting question. And I think it is too soon to tell. The reason is that there is still no simple business model that empowers us to achieve this. We have “app stores” that allow us to download functionality at low cost. But we don’t have “content stores” that allow us to participate in the market for creating content that is close to us.

You might check out this story about Tom Merritt’s new tech news show from this perspective.



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