Going out ain't social
My ears were ringing for two days after seeing Primal Scream. You gotta love a little live ‘rock n’roll’ now and again, a dose of Dionysian pleasure. So here a conundrum. Although I spend a pile of time online, this has only increased my thirst for drafts of intense, real life events. It’s as if each has become an antidote to the other.
What is it to be ‘social’?
This isn’t a yearning for the social. Facebook is far more of a social experience than going to the theatre, cinema or concert. The scale, intensity and dynamic nature of the social interaction on Facebook is way beyond the idle chit-chat with relatively small numbers of people you get in these real places. In fact, people are loathed to speak to strangers at arts events. The only exceptions to this are popular sports events such as football where thousands will sing, chant, shout and chat with those around them.
Facebook –network of friends – multiple chat - anytime *****
Messenger – multiple chat – with cam ****
Email – one to one – daily ****
Conference – networking in coffee breaks and evening ****
Football match – social singing – lots of chat ****
Down the pub – small social group – chat fuelled by alcohol ***
Dinner party – small social group fuelled by alcohol ***
At work – open office – chat ***
Gig –social but on an emotional level **
Theatre – brief chats in the foyer *
Dance – same as theatre *
Classical concert – people hardly socialise at all, certainly not with strangers. They don’t even speak to the people sitting next to them *
Cinema – not social at all – it relies on the suspension of disbelief and other viewers are often an annoyance – crunching popcorn, crackling sweet papers, slurping coke *
Art exhibition – nobody speaks to anyone - 0
What we yearn for in the real world is not primarily social, it’s transformative experiences. Real social experience is in inverse proportion to the degree of live performance. Just because there’s lots of people around doesn’t make it a social experience. Being in a live audience is often being part of an anonymous non-social mob.
Are we being driven to polarised extremes, with online social activity at one end and live non-social performance at the other? Does increased activity online lead to an increased need for real ‘reality’.