Did anyone else watch the opening ceremony of The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics? Did anyone else think, ‘Wow, if that was me entering the stadium in front of 40,000 live spectators (including world leaders) with millions more watching at home, that would be one of the best moments of my life?’ Did anyone else think, ‘Why the hell are so many of them watching the whole experience through their smart phones and tablets?’ I definitely did.
2,900 athletes, all brilliant at what they do, will be competing in this competition. I am envious of all of them. I have no idea what it feels like to be truly brilliant at something. I watched a small part of the opening ceremony. I saw the fifth Olympic Ring fail to open, but mostly I watched the athletes and their teams enter the stadium through the hole in the floor. For many of them, this must have been the greatest moments of their lives. All of them, whether coaches or athletes, had something to be very proud of.
So why did so many of them watch it through their portable video devices? Did someone forget to tell them that there will be professional videographers with big fancy cameras? The image at the head of this post, that of the American team entering, shows twenty separate video recording devices, mostly smart phones. [the use of this photo of Americans is irrelevant, many teams were the same]
Go, watch it again if you didn’t notice, and watch how many people coming into that majestic stadium carried a tablet aloft, or pointed a smart phone at the people around them. They were literally living through the best moments of their life, but they only saw it through a screen. Thousands of miles away, I saw it through a screen too, although admittedly, their sound quality was presumably a little bit better.
In Korea, people are smart phone obsessed. I have enjoyed my one month here without a telephone. Admittedly I have been using the computer a lot, but when I walk outside, I turn off my computer and I am disconnected. It is rather refreshing.
Whatever did people do when we had to live in the real world and talk to real people and think of real things and we couldn’t watch it all back on an un-stabilised screen, pointed aimlessly in every direction? I can hardly remember.
Now watch this video on how social media makes us lonely. It makes the point far more eloquently than I.