Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Shifting Time

At a community concert last Sunday the host said he was pleased with the attendance given the competition with the Bears game. He also said someone had instructed him not to reveal the score. Why not? Because some people in the audience were saving the game and would want to watch it after the concert.

I flew during the last game of the World Series. After we landed I checked the final score on my mobile phone (cool enough that I can do that) and told it to the St. Louis fan sitting across to me. But the person behind me got upset since he was planning to watch the game later.

In my youth you had to watch a sporting event live or you couldn't watch it a all. Everyone watched TV shows at the same time. We even all saw movies at roughly the same time, if you missed a movie in the theater the few weeks it played you would have to wait years until it played in a retrospective or came to TV. You could safely have a discussion about the latest game, TV show or movie knowing that everyone had either seen it or won't get the chance to.

Technology has changed the notion of time itself. Events, particularly entertainment, don't happen at the same time for everyone. They just have an earliest time. Events happen when we want, or have time, for them to happen. This freedom of time makes life more convenient but harder to talk about events that have occurred for some people and not others. Even email causes time shifting. How often have we tried to talk to someone who can't because he "hasn't read that email yet."

The local cable company taped the concert for later broadcast. People could have watched the football game when it happened and the concert later. Their choice.

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