Off-line

Watching  a movie. You decompose this element by element:

  • If I go the the cinema, I see a movie in a dark setting. If I stay at home, I see a movie in a dark setting.
  • I can have popcorn and soda either at the cinema or at home.
  • I can be with someone at the cinema or at home.
  • The sound system at home and at the cinema is similar.
  • The screen at the cinema is larger, and they may have 3D glasses, but this isn’t that important to me.
  • At home, I can play/pause/forward.
  • At the cinema, I pay a premium.

All-in-all, after the decomposition, it appears that the home wins. You get pretty much the same experience, element-by-element, and you don’t have to pay the premium (you do pay something, but it’s less than at the cinema).

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It’s just that there is still a tiny, small, little difference, often neglected, which makes the above logic inaccurate:

  • At the cinema, I get an experience of being in a place. It doesn’t matter if you like the people in the room or not, it doesn’t matter whether you like the cinema or not. What’s important is the experience.

Working mostly online, I tend to make this mistake also – not considering the single most important advantage of real-life events. Concerts don’t seem to provide much added value to a good sound system at home. You don’t really need to go to a marathon of movies. You can see paintings online, you don’t have to go to that specific museum.

Actually, there is a difference, stated below:

  • Whatever the cost (money / time / effort / opportunity cost)  involved, doing a “live” experience gives you a different experience than doing that experience in front of a device (monitor, laptop, smartphone, tablet, e-book reader).

If this difference is important to you, that’s your choice. But at least, you should acknowledge it. There’s a usual habit to decompose things, and analyze them element-by-element, and on-line has some big advantages, mostly related to commodity (lack of effort, big speeds, lots of options to personalize the experience to your taste), and some to price (it costs to go to State Hermitage in Saint Petersburg; but it’s not the same thing as seeing the paintings online).

The difference is mostly observable when people want to take the live experience and make it computerized. “Oh, I’ll have a photo of this, and I’ll enjoy the experience 10 years later”. You may, but you may also not.

Classic cars are nice because they are palpable and provide a solid experience. The further you add technology into something, the further it’s no longer personal.

If you work on-line, you should know the difference on-line / off-line. You should know the difference between building an on-line community, or taking things, from time to time, off-line. There is a difference between having an off-line group which goes online, rather than gathering people on-line first. It’s a difference if someone sees you in person and sends you an email.


Note: Also see the Yahoo! Group on which I present similar issues:IMRo. To join, email imro-subscribe@yahoogroups.com and reply to the confirmation email.

I am a Freelancer. My expertise is in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) / UX (user experience) / WordPress. Co-founder of lumeaseoppc.ro (series of events on SEO & PPC) and cetd.ro (Book on branding for MDs). On a personal level, I like self-development - events, sports, healthy living, volunteering, reading. I live in London, and lots of things live in me.

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