Live Streaming – Cyber Time vs Cyber Space

16th March, 2017

Whilst in California a random 5 minute water-cooler type conversation with my friend J Nichols turned to the topic of live-streaming. J was mid way through running an online bookclub where each day he would read a small section from his book Blue Mind to encourage discussion via the Facebook comment thread throughout.

Due to time zone differences I would see these as “video feeds” several hours later… in delay… and we were both intrigued by the different sense of connection and involvement felt when watching a live stream… errrm… well… “live”… versus watching it on a rerun…

Super-interesting… eh? Think about it! The same content… but at a later time… creating a different emotional response… We wondered… what is going on?

Firstly I love the watery tone of the term live streaming – the idea of something being alive and fluid / changeable… where anything could happen and through watching you have some kind of shared experience of it at a shared point in time.  The stream aspect also suggests that the experience is passing through time and space much like the water in a river.

So what happens when the analogue experience is stored as digital data? Something changes that is for sure. Yes I know the whole transmission is digital since in this case we are using social media as the example conduit… but let us consider the pivotal role of “collective-consciousness”.

Many of us live stream the occasional sunrise or sunset or walks on the beach – it is amazing how many people make a point to check in to share that moment with us… and as a result the sense of connection this creates. If asked many of them would not go back and watch the video later… the moment would have passed and as a result their experience would be a lot different. There is something compelling about the idea… “this is happening right now!”

Think about those sports fans you know who record the game if they cannot watch it at a set time and then go back and watch it later. Their experience can be powerful, but often something is missing.

Here is where I got to so far with it (at the point of writing this – more thoughts will have emerged since) please add your wisdom in the comment field… (of course a live stream discussion would, no doubt, be more powerful J):

It seems to me, once a live-stream ends and there is a lack of immediacy – our potential for spontaneous impromptu response sharing shifts… With this the experience becomes even less REAL and the flow of emergent wisdom is slowed through editing and self-censorship… Our sense of community and the resonance of knowing others are with you (virtually within the moment) has gone and rather than being part of a shared moment – we become a lone commentator.

Once a moment has passed, whether we wish to or not… we lack the ability to have been an active participant within it… Not that we vastly influence the examples used ie a sunset or a sports game… That said I once experienced two guys convinced their team won the super-bowl due to them turning their baseball hats a quarter turn to the right at a pivotal point in the match that we were “watching” in the UK via telephone SMS text message… the virtual media of the 90s… but I digress….

Once a live stream ends, the recording becomes more like a static facsimile than the transient reality that was captured. We are to some extent a dissociated observer or bystander. It doesn’t of course mean that comments made later are irrelevant… they are simply not “in and of the moment” … and we all know that.

Social media is social to some extent… it absolutely has its place… but true “social interaction” occurs concurrently… and live streaming is one step closer to allowing us to use social media to create collective experiences.

Social interactions are perfectly imperfect and unedited. Nobody expects a live stream to be exceptionally choreographed… adding a raw honesty to the experience… like going to a music gig versus listening to a CD… In social interactions (even via digital media) we show up with the intention of participating in some way. We bring our energy to the table in some capacity whether that is through simply listening, letting others know we are there and they have our support… or perhaps through asking questions, sharing our views etc… we are expecting emergent interaction and we co-own the outcome.

So my point… Other than inviting you to live stream more rather than posting videos… it is quite fun!

But my real point…

  • Your life is live streaming right now… nothing is fixed and you have so many choices available…. Really!
  • Connect with people as much as you can in real time – even if geographically that means skype and zoom versus email… they will feel more invested.
  • The social relationships you have with others are also live streaming… old patterns are old patterns and you have within you the creative options to leave the less helpful ones in the past.
  • Be real…. It takes courage, but life is not polished and edited, well lit with studio quality sound… there are costume malfunctions, moments where our words trip us up, times when the signal to volume ratio isn’t quite right… all of these add to the honesty with which we go out into the world… accept and learn from mistakes, nobody expects perfection… authenticity on the other hand is very welcome.

Finally show gratitude to those who inspire you in the way they are authentically live streaming their lives in the wider not just cyber world…

Thanks #WallaceJNichols – our random conversations never fail to provoke insight and always lead to even more questions… I cannot even imagine what our neuroscience-scientist friends could measure in ref to this 🙂

#Compassionate_in_intent #Creative_in_mind #Courageous_in_action

About Lizzi Larbalestier

Professional executive coach, mBIT and NLP trainer specialising in coastal coaching. Creating meaningful conversations, facilitating action and change for the results that you deserve. #coherentleadership #bluemind


  1. I was glad to be pointed to this article by Katharine Bourke.

    I believe what you are describing here is when content was social, but has become broadcast. As in, while a game or conversation was live, it was social – “anything could happen” – it was two-way. But once over, it is now broadcast – one way.

    I describe this a bit here:

    What is lost in the live social moment, is made up for by the duplication of broadcast. A now-recorded clip can be duplicated and re-posted, re-editted, mashed up, etc, in a way that a live moment can’t. So both have their strengths.

    I like to think of “social innovation, broadcast duplication” 🙂

    I love your analogue, then, of life being live streamed! Life is social! But once lived, we can turn it into duplicatable assets for others to experience: books, memoirs, stories, memories, photos, videos, films, etc.

  2. Hey Scott fab reply and your model beautifully describes some of the different modes of communication, so a useful framework for the questions I raised here… In the context of your model my description I would guess the stream is moving from “social in the moment” to still being “social” (in that the comment field still runs and can evolve)… but the “in the moment part” is lost… so it it likely “perceived” as more of a “broadcast”… therefore your framework is super-helpful to orientate my curiosity… which lies in… the emotional, social, cognitive, physiological impacts of this shifting perception. Real gratitude for sharing your blog post 🙂

  3. Hi Lizzi, sorry for the late reply – I didn’t get a notification of your response for some reason.

    I’m glad you found my framework helpful. It needs more work done on it as it’s a bit old now, but the premise I think is sound.

    I was at the time considering how time affects something being social. Take pen pals or even email. When we send our response we feel anything can happen. When we read theirs for the first time, we anticipate like we do when reading a novel.

    But afterwards, the enjoyment changes.

    I guess, like a novel, the joy is appreciating the depths?

  4. Great points re pen pal letters and huge appreciation for the discussion – your insights add even further distinctions to the impact of time delay and pre/in/post experience reading engagement… we have explored in the past during NLP exercises the difference between photos on iPhone whilst on holiday versus the “oldskool” anticipation of printing a film and reliving anchored experiences afterwards through the arrival of vacation prints… and how in this instance often the delay and mystery of film almost ADDS impact to the media.

    These distinctions are slightly different (of course interesting though)… to the question we were originally raising… which was around “simultaneous experience of something” versus “delayed/sequential interaction”.

    I guess in the photo analogy… the pictures (whether on iPhone or print) do, through their anchoring capacity, bring us back to the “shared experience”… and like-wise in live streaming… for those people who originally shared the moment… the livestream recording will have some anchors within it when later watched…

    And yet… It if you weren’t there first time around (in some capacity – real OR virtual)… it seems that watching a live stream recording (even for the first time)… there is something less visceral having not “lived it”… I think it is a Collective embodied cognition thing… or in mBraining we would describe it as Entrainment… something about knowing and feeling that others are experiencing IT (whatever it is) with you at that exact moment makes a difference… All super cool and fascinating stuff and I love that the discussion becomes broader through your wisdom and insight – even if our conversation is sequential 🙂

    Time is everything – there is only now… thank you for sharing some of your time to develop this curiosity.