Same song, different tune: Connected world? Or alone together?
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Same song, different tune: Connected world? Or alone together?

May 30, 2013

Today's digital ecosystem provides ample opportunities to bridge gaps between people. As a result, this more "interconnected" human experience (take that as you will) is often the centerpiece of many debates. While the feud between a digital vs. analog existence has taken Montague and Capulet proportions, a new project by conductor Eric Whitacre and Skype finds perfect harmony – literally – in marrying the two.

Today’s digital ecosystem provides ample opportunities to bridge gaps between people.  As a result, this more “interconnected” human experience (take that as you will) is often the centerpiece of many debates.

Are we truly more connected?  Do these said channels of connectivity actually cultivate a sense of solitude?  Are strides in social technologies positively or negatively impacting how we interact?  How we perceive each other?  How we perceive ourselves?

It all starts to become very polarizing.  While the feud between a digital vs. analog existence has taken Montague and Capulet proportions, a new project by conductor Eric Whitacre and Skype finds perfect harmony – literally – in marrying the two.

In 2009, Whitacre took to his blog, Facebook and YouTube to call auditions for a virtual choir.  After many hours of vetting and editing, Whitacre and his team curated a selection of submissions from nearly 200 YouTube users across 12 different countries.  These videos were all spliced together and the end result was an impressive, albeit slightly chilling, virtual performance of the song “Lux Aurumque.”

A few years and a few choirs later, Whitacre and Skype partnered for a natural evolution of the project: the first live virtual choir for a performance at TED 2013.  100 singers took to the stage at TED, joined by 30 vocalists across 28 countries…all skyped into the spotlight for real-time, real-world-meets-digital-world harmonizations.

One small step for man, one giant leap for “connected world” mankind.

Whether you lean pro-virtual or pro-real world (or perhaps you find yourself struggling to define what “real” even is anymore), one thing is clear: online and offline interactions are becoming increasingly integrated.  Whitacre and Skype’s social experiment humanizes the digital space.  Beyond its nods at form and function, the ethic of the experiment is highly provocative and uplifting, positioning the world wide web not just as a channel, but as an emotional, living environment.  And what’s more, it sheds light on the growing importance of understanding the interplay between consumers and the different channels they utilize.

Now more than ever, a seamless multichannel brand experience is a mandate, not a differentiator.  It’s at the heart of providing a great overall customer experience.  The cross-channel integration that is powerfully demonstrated in Whitacre and Skype’s project goes way beyond seamlessness to creating something unique and deeply engaging for the end user.  At Kelton, we’ve helped major brands determine which tools and channels customers use to help allocate resources in a world with abundant environments and choices.  This expertise has given us a wealth of data to ground strategies in the actualities of cross-channel behaviors and decision-makings.

Pull up a chair and take a look at the result of Whitacre and Skype’s partnership here.  Beyond an awe-inspiring performance, it begs the question: what does a more connected world mean, and what could it mean, for you and your brand?

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