Why, when we can have digital, do we choose analogue?

Author: Zara Karaduman

More and more organisations and individuals around the world are sharing good content on free digital mediums, with access to inspirational leaders, speakers and entertainers.

Why, then with a touch of a button, would hundreds of people recently pay $250 a ticket to watch speakers give a TEDx talk in the Sydney Opera House, when they could have watched it live in the comfort of their own home for free?

How often have you been at a concert and started cheering, singing or clapping along with fellow audience members, uniting in your experience of entertainment. If you were watching a live feed of that concert whilst sitting alone on your couch, would you remain silent or get up on your feet and dance along with the crowd?

In a recent TED talk, Sophie Scott quoted research from Robert Provine that you are 30 times more likely to laugh if you are with somebody else than if you’re on your own.

I think that similarly translates to experiencing live events.

Humans crave other people and most want an interaction that activates our senses, sharing ideas and thoughts, connecting and revelling in the experience we don’t always get from remote participation.

Futurist Anders Sorman-Nilsson puts it into perspective with digital vs. analogue. Calling it ‘digilogue’, he examines how and why we embrace some things digital, yet cling to the analogue version of others and how the crossover of the two often provides a happy medium.

It’s the same reason why some people still prefer hard copy books over a Kindle, or choose to meet a friend in person for a conversation rather than Skyping. In what is becoming a very digital world filled with information on screens, we value that analogue or live experience, finding comfort and satisfaction in something that we can see and touch.

I – and hundreds like me – attend live events like TEDx not just for the content or knowledge imparted but for how being in an audience makes us feel. The connection that we have with others, the opportunity to share in and absorb the atmosphere, excitement and sense of community that it brings. And whilst I had an amazing live experience, I’m very glad there’s also a video stream version of the event, so I can share my favourite talks of the day with friends and colleagues on their digital screens.

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