In my last article I wrote about a difference between experiencing something and a pervasive sense of connection but stopped short of delving into the differences between the two and how they relate to each other. Part two of this article series covers just that. The difference between experience and connection, and the critical relationship they share.
What’s an Experience?
An experience is anything that you witness, feel or take part in. Experience builds our memories and impacts our views, whether those experiences are memorable or not. The philosophy at Whirple is to create the most meaningful and engaging experiences possible between fans and their favorite artists.
What is Connection?
Connection has a less clear definition in the modern world. Thirty years ago, you rarely if ever heard anyone ask, “Are we too connected?” since the very idea of connection was reserved for the very few in our social circles. Simply, there were few channels that only a few could access. Before telephones became common place we had mail services and really it was only after the advent of the Internet Age that our ability to connect with others became global in a meaningful way. Today, there are many channels accessed by many. Multiplicity of online forums and different types of social media have made interconnection instantaneous.
The appeal of social media comes from wanting to bridge the gap between experience and connection. We want to experience wonderful things but we also have a natural drive to share those experiences with people we care about. As technology flourishes and expands its reach, we can instantly share our views and experiences across distance and borders that were impossible a few decades ago.
The technology that makes sharing and spreading ideas feels liberating and amazing as it gives everyone a voice. As we know, however, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. This realization hit me hard when Chris Rock did a show in Toronto recently with a complete mobile phone ban inside the arena. I was forced to spend an evening without my phone for the first time in years. For one night, there was no buzzing in my pocket. The temptation to see what notifications I had awaiting me vanished. I didn’t feel the need to share what was happening around me in real time with anyone else apart from sharing in the experience of my friends in attendance with me. And therein lies the central problem. An abundance or flood of connections often distracts and takes away from the experience of what is present before us.
At the same time, you can’t eliminate the connections that exist in the global village today. It’s here to stay and too important. So then where do we go from here? My suggestion is to strike a balance. I saw The Last Jedi without my phone and it does make a difference. At no point did I have any concern for these hanging threads in my life because I didn’t have access to them for a period of time. Instead, I was in the moment of the experience itself with people around me. I was not part of a large swath of people in the ocean of social media.
Community = Connection + Experience
Why is understanding the relationship between connection and experience important? It’s important because getting experience and connection wrong keeps us further apart. Getting them right brings us closer to a sacred social need that we call community.
Part three will cover this idea of Community, and how modern technology has affected it.