The Power of Shared Experiences: A Look into the Future of Live-Streaming
Live experiences are overrated -
unless we have someone to share them with.
By Dan Albion
In 1912, French sociologist Émile Durkheim introduced a fascinating theory that still resonates in our modern, digital world: the concept of Collective Effervescence (CE).
This term describes a phenomenon where a group comes together to share an experience. The collective effervescence experienced by group members leads to a feeling of ‘unity with the gods’, or in Durkheim's terms, with the group itself.
In essence, sharing an experience with others can have a profound effect on your overall enjoyment.
"We don't realise the extent to which we are influenced by the people around us."
Throughout my 20 year career as business and creative partner to Dynamo, the renowned magician, I've delved deeply into the power of Collective Effervescence - or ‘shared experience’, both during live performances and while filming our TV shows.
It’s become clear to me that we don’t realise the extent to which we are influenced by the people around us and how they can impact on our experience.
Shared experiences are at the heart of what it means to be human. They shape our culture, influence our behaviours, and even help to form our identities.
But why does this matter, particularly from a commercial perspective? Let's take a closer look.
The Commercial Impact of Shared Experiences
In a business context, shared experiences can be a powerful tool.
A study published in the Journal of Marketing found that customers who shared a brand experience were more likely to purchase more, stay loyal, and spread positive word-of-mouth.
Essentially, shared experiences help to foster a sense of community, which in turn, can drive customer engagement, spend and loyalty.
This is why, despite the obvious advantages of the digital world (i.e cost, convenience, distribution), the live events industry and physical retail space are still able to thrive.
But what if we were able to harness the magic of an ‘in real life’ shared experience and combine it with all the benefits of the digital domain…
The Challenge with Current Live-Streaming Solutions
The 2020 global pandemic proved to be a defining moment for the emerging live-streaming industry.
Live-streaming rapidly evolved to become a key player in the digital space, with the sector still on track to reach an impressive $158 billion by 2027.
“While live-streaming has brought us closer to events happening around the world, it has yet to fully capture the magic of real-world, shared experiences.”
Despite the adoption by mainstream providers, the current live-streaming model often falls short when it comes to replicating the real excitement of shared viewing experiences. Viewers typically watch live-streamed events in solitude, missing out on the collective emotions and reactions that come with group viewing.
While live-streaming has brought us closer to events happening around the world, it has yet to fully capture the magic of real-world, shared experiences. This is the gap that needs to be addressed as we look towards the future of live-streaming.
The Unfulfilled Promise of VR and the Metaverse
Over the last few years, many have touted Virtual Reality (VR) and the concept of the Metaverse as the ultimate solution for creating shared experiences in the digital realm. The idea of an immersive, interactive virtual world where people can share experiences is indeed compelling.
“creating high-quality VR experiences can be costly and technically challenging. This means that many of the VR experiences currently available are limited in their quality and interactivity”
However, the actualisation of this vision has been hampered by several factors:
Firstly, the hardware needed for VR is still not widely available. As of 2021, there were roughly 10 million VR headsets in use world-wide, compared to over 1 billion iPhones. The cost and availability of these devices are significant barriers to widespread adoption.
Secondly, creating high-quality VR experiences can be costly and technically challenging. This means that many of the VR experiences currently available are limited in their quality and interactivity, making it hard to truly replicate the feeling of shared experiences.
This may change over the long term, especially with Apple entering the market with its Vision Pro XR headset. However, even the biggest proponents of the Metaverse admit that it will take many years to reach mainstream consumers.
The Potential Solution: Shared Live-Streaming
While VR and the Metaverse may still be many years away from mainstream adoption, there are other ways we can bring shared experiences to the digital world.
A mobile live-streaming platform that allows for real-time interaction could be a more accessible and immediate solution. By leveraging the ubiquity of smartphones and the power of the internet, we believe it is possible to create shared experiences that are accessible to anyone, anywhere.
In conclusion, the power of shared experiences is undeniable, both from a human and a commercial perspective. By finding ways to bring these experiences into the digital realm, we can unlock the huge potential of live-streaming.
I'd love to hear from you. Please add a comment or message me if you have any thoughts on this subject.
Check out CrowdSurf and join our Beta waitlist to find out more about harnessing the power of shared experiences.