Picture it – two simultaneous parties are taking place; one with a sultry speakeasy echo of the earliest of analog days, the other with a bright, electro-chill vibe lit up over a multitude of digital flashes and screens. In one, smartphones are not permitted; in the other, large wall screens invite participants to add their own mark to the virtual conversation. Such was the premise of the #SMWPartyExperiment hosted by @SapientNitro Chicago office as they sought to discover which world won out with the crowd in terms of being more social – analog or digital?
In the speakeasy, conversation flowed, faces were relaxed and people were continuously engaged with one another and the live band on the stage. While social was restricted to the moment and your immediate surroundings, the focused connection with individual party goers made for deeper and richer interactions.
Upstairs at the digital lounge, conversation tuned in and out, faces were intense and people were fluttering between screens and one another. The greater conversation was made up of tiny tweetbites and scattered images, with a lot more people watching and less interpersonal interaction.
Now you might be sensing that I found the analog environment to be more ‘social’ by the end of the night and you’d be right. Call me old fashioned, but I’ll always take a face-to-face interaction where I can get it, trusting the digital world to expand and nurture it over time. That’s not to say that digital media can’t offer interpersonal connections and interactions – it can, but the competition factor amongst eyeballs is far greater and more difficult to filter and absorb. This is the challenge we face as the proliferation of channels and content choices grows – maintaining the QUALITY of the experience. Quality is the ultimate trump card and it’s going to take more sophisticated application of the technology and data to ensure it’s not lost amongst the mass communication of texts, images, sounds and more being churned out minute by minute.
Nice job by @SapientNitro team for enhancing what would have been just another night of socializing with a unique juxtaposition style approach to learning. Would love to hear more about the final results from their study.