I think power outages bring people closer. As soon as the lights go out people ban together: to sing, to tell stories, to loot. Whatever activity the populous chooses to engage in they’re doing it in numbers.
I think the lights going off reminds us how fragile we are and how precarious civilization is. We’re just one catastrophe away from being the start of an Man vs Wild episode. When the lights go out two impulses run through our heads, to either rebuild civilization like our cavemen ancestors did or go for broke. We really only have one choice when you think about it. Like two rappers with fledging fan bases, we must collaborate. Prehistoric men had it pretty rough and that’s why they chose to work together. We don’t value the collective because none of us has ever had to kill a moose with a tree branch. Go kill a moose with a stick and then come back and tell me how you’re self made.
The Superbowl outage was a unique case of us banning together via technology. The lights in our houses didn’t go out. In fact, we were still tweeting. So we got the rare chance to share an outage while still on the grid. Even submersed in light, we still felt the need to connect when faced with a black out. And for once social media became well social. Not a bevy of single nodes barking to the others about their day or what they had for breakfast. No, for 34 minutes the web became a bar, a living room, a camp fire with people all chiming in on the same subject. For once the receiver of information cared about what the sender was saying because it was a shared moment. Social media seems normal but go to a party and blurt out personal facts to people without responding to what they say. See, not normal at all.
With hundreds of television stations, it’s not often we’re guaranteed that everyone is watching the same thing. That’s why we must still sit down in the same room with other people from time to time and actual human interaction. And for God’s sake man, don’t wait until the lights go out again to do it.
The Superbowl wasn’t my first dark rodeo. I once braved a black out in South Africa. Read about it in my book “Hot Chocolate For the Mind” or here….
My best tweets from the blackout:
- Finally, Baltimore has something other than “the Wire” to be proud of #superbowl
- I’m going to start kissing my bicep after every tweet. #HCFTM
- if the Niners win their parade song should be “Electric Slide” #superbowl
- I think Bane did this. #superbowl
- Hey CBS guys. You seem stuck for ideas. Just read our tweets. #superbowl
- You kill unions, you get SuperBowl power outages!