Question 3 of 365: Where are our mass shared experiences in a world of niches?

Question 3 of 365: Where are our mass shared experiences in a world of niches?

There is something about the Mash finale or The Beatles first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show that will never be replicated. They were mainstream media when that was the only kind of media to be. They were shared by over half of the American population at a single time. This will never occur again. When we have niche social networks, niche dating sites, niche news, and even niche microblogging platforms, we will never again find a way to share a single memory, to have a single version of the truth of what happened or didn’t.

Yet, we have our memes and our viral everything. Is that the closest that we will get to sharing a common experience again? Is it that we will have to experience the video version of on our own time to bond to one another? Is the long tail the same thing as sharing a moment with everyone you know?


Our shared experience now is so categorized and split into sectors that we hardly can build any kind of common thread holding us all together. But, I believe that mass shared experience is going to make a comeback. I see a day when the machine of community that has created Twitter becomes so real-time as to coalesce into a single channel. I believe that if facebook (or its offspring) is the future of the platforms that we converse and create within, then there is hope for singular moments to occur.

One day in the not too distant future, our twittershpere (or the like) will be interrupted by the entire network retweeting a single moment about to take place, and we will have the capacity to watch that moment unfurl from multiple vantage points and talk about it while it occurs. We will have the entire world focused on their mobile devices as they watch the final moments of a presidency, see someone walking on Mars or merely take a moment to watch a singing sensation.

We came close during the Iranian Election last year, but we all reacted to news from every different channel. We watched as a woman died on the streets, but we were so far removed. Our future shared experience will put us as close to the event as possible, and we will all be changed by it happening. Once we have this moment from within our niches, we will realize just how artificial the boundaries of those niches are. We will start to work toward pulling the platforms together and once again having a single medium for finding out the things we want to know. But, this medium will be one we can control, one that we can take part in.

While it may not come from the likes of CBS, we can be certain that the web will have a moment like TV did, when it truly comes of age.


  1. A single platform sounds great. I want to see it happen. In this instant of my thinking, I don't think it will. That's not where the brunt of my thinking goes on this one. The brunt goes to this story (…) from Jan. 13. No matter the single platform with multiple vantage points, the issue is more the multiple voices. Think of the skill necessary to have half of the American populous saying what's going on, and distinguish the voices of truth within that. I simply don't have it. I don't know that I want it. The shared experience with MASH and The Beatles worked because everyone had seen the same thing. We didn't hear Charlie Brill and Mitzi McCall's perspective until years later (Act 1:…). Different vantage points mean different experiences.

  2. bhwilkoff

    Yeah. I go back and forth on this one more than almost any other. I hate
    rhythmic clapping. It grates against everything I believe in terms of
    connecting with the music. If you experiencing everything that everyone is,
    then it is hard to imagine coming up with unique analysis or connection to
    the thing itself.

    Yet, I still want to share experiences so that I can have a single language
    of understanding to talk about them. Knowing that you have seen All in the
    Family at a different time and space is still a shared experience, it is
    just a different kind. And, perhaps that is okay.

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