Earlier this summer I took a great DMin class called The Gospel and Global Media Cultures. One of my favorite books from the course was Elizabeth Drescher’s Tweet If You ❤ Jesus: Practicing Church in the Digital Reformation. What I especially appreciate is Drescher’s analysis of social media from a cultural perspective. She notes that we are in the midst of a major cultural shift, not just a change in communication technologies and media. When it comes to communication culture, we are moving away from a consumerist broadcast culture to a participatory digital culture.
In light of this, I found the #nbcfail meme rather fascinating. (Here’s a story from today.) Throughout the Olympics, people on Twitter and other social networks complained incessantly about NBC delaying the broadcast of the games until prime time in the evening. Evidently, people wanted to watch the Olympics live throughout the day, especially since the delay necessitated avoiding result spoilers.
The thing is, I’m pretty sure that all of the games were streamed live online. So, presumably, those savvy enough to tweet should have been able to find live coverage of every event of the Olympics. And, despite these complaints, NBC broke all kinds of audience records for their delayed coverage during prime time.
I wonder if this indicates that we’re not as far into digital culture as we thought. Or, at the very least, it must indicate that broadcast television has not yet been eclipsed by online streaming.
What do you think? Should we draw any conclusions about digital culture from #nbcfail?