It’s become second nature in our tech-filled lives of instant uploads, posts and tweets. We like sharing our experiences, our words, and our updates — there’s a certain sense of instant gratification that comes from broadcasting your news across multiple social platforms. But what do you do when you can’t? What do you do when you find yourself in a strictly enforced no cell phone zone?
You do exactly what you’re told, and you put your phone deep into your pocket. How do I know this answer, you ask? Well, when you see an NBC Page bolting toward you with more determination and hostility than a ticked-off grizzly bear you back down. You back down real quick. Those lanky twenty-year-old gents in suits are more ferocious than you think. So you put your phone away swiftly and reassure the pesky page that your phone is on temporary lockdown, and then you sit back and enjoy the show.
It was tough though. I could barely contain myself. I was in the middle of a dream come true. I had finally entered Studio 8-H inside of 30 Rockefeller Center — the famous studio space for Saturday Night Live. All I wanted to do was take photos, post status updates and tweet my face off about how I was inside the most impressive studio I have ever seen. I also noticed that nearly 200 other audience members were struggling to contain themselves as well. I not only had a clear view of the renowned SNL set, but I also had a front row seat to the show of pages zipping and leaping through the audience to accost other fidgety cell phone holders.
SNL is an institution — a LIVE institution. They will do anything to protect the integrity of the show. And by “they” I mostly mean Lorne Michaels, the famous and long-time producer of SNL. If they allowed the use of cell phones during the live recording of the show it would lose its luster. Not only would it be harmful for the obvious reasons, such as distracting the actors or legal infractions, but it would also be leaking out content of the show in an uncontrollable fashion. It always has been, and always will be, (primarily) viewed live.
Only until recently has NBC figured out a way to share their seemingly perfect internet-friendly content of SNL to the world wide web. Now they’re uploading entire episodes of SNL onto Hulu and NBC.com — but not until Sunday. They even splice up the sketches into individual videos for easy watching and sharing. In fact, the show has evolved so much over the past 3 or 4 years that they are also filming and releasing sacred backstage content to put up on their site. And why not? It’s all controlled. They curate exactly what content is entertaining and suitable to share with the public. They control the LIVE performance on Saturday, and release the content into the wild on Sunday. The show has increasingly become more relevant than ever these days with web-trending Digital Shorts and some of the most widely shared video content on the web. Pretty impressive for a studio that comes close to chopping your arm off if you raise a cell phone camera into the air.
I felt there was a lot to learn from this unforgettable LIVE experience. It made me enjoy the moment. I was able to sit back in an undistracted fashion and take in every second of the show. I was never shifting in my seat to fire off my camera. I wasn’t frantically trying to figure out what buttons to push on my phone in the distressing darkness of the studio audience. I laughed and absorbed every detail. I discovered that experiencing the moment, is sometimes far better than sharing the moment. At least in real-time, that is. The second I exited Studio 8-H I uploaded some photos and a short story worth of comments. And you know what? I think Lorne Michaels would’ve liked it that way. I simultaneously protected the magic of the show when it was LIVE, and I promoted the show when it was over. Everyone wins.
When there’s good reason not to share today, enjoy the moment, because one can always share tomorrow. “Like it” or leave it — that’s the truth. And that my fellow friends, you can share with whomever you’d like.