With the fragmentation of content distribution and media consumption, there has also been a fragmentation of community. We read the articles, we watch the shows, we listen to the tracks, but we do it in the sequence that we choose, or at the time or date we want, entirely or in pieces, from whatever social outlet we prefer. We gather around interest groups, but we don’t gather around moments.
Cord cutting, in a sense, is also a cut from the shared experience. We might well gather around a popular stream, but we don’t necessarily gather together. We experience events and exchange ideas, but we do so from afar when we experience these things at different times, through different outlets, and in our chosen sequence. We call and respond on social media, but the bond isn’t the same and the enthusiasm of the moment is diluted.
Sporting events and other live performances are a lingering exception, now on pause. Many feel the absence, and maybe that isn’t only the void where there once was a subject, but also the shared experience that went missing. Which is to say, the shared moment.
The isolation that is happening in our global lockdown draws attention to these things, perhaps, and maybe this is why, say, the CBS network is bringing back Sunday Night at the Movies, where the emphasis isn’t on the show itself (which are old ones that most of us have seen) but on the event and its scheduled fixed timing. The MSG network has been rebroadcasting Linsanity all week, and the crowds gathered.
The dance band that pioneered so many things in media and its consumption, has once again been a few steps ahead (possibly because the organization has understood community better than most, considering its roots and origin). A little while ago it introduced One More Saturday Night, where the distribution channel is more or less open (e.g., Facebook, YouTube, whatever) but the time is set at 8pm ET. Next came Weir Wednesdays, and Shakedown Stream on Friday nights, following the same principle.
If the current environment, which is extreme, makes us notice certain aspects of the era that could maybe use some tweaking, perhaps this is one such. And maybe it’s coming.