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Important Insight on Presence From a Talking Head

ByrneDDavid Byrne is a very talented musician who is also thoughtful, and well-spoken. I’ve been reading his Bicycle Diaries, a sprawling autobiographical travelogue loosely tied together by his impressions from bicycling dozens of cities around the world. In the middle of the book, there’s an interesting aside on the importance of “presence” in a digital world: “Paradoxically, as it does get easier and easier to marshal all sorts of services from our phones or laptops and access limitless information, the interest and demand for the stuff that can’t be digitized becomes greater: live performances, face-to-face gatherings, interactions, experiences, taste, tranquility. Those who frequent social networking sites come to value authenticity as a kind of compensation, since those qualities can be faked all to easily online.” The lesson for me is this: In a world of digital disintermediation, it is the role of the event producer to create experiences that enhance authentic presence. In short, our goal is “Authentic Intermediation.” I would argue that we are now developing models for authenticity online that cannot be faked. I’ll say more about that later.

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