Oprah follows tHGS

Oprah just announced at the end of her 10 weeks with Eckhart Tolle that she’ll be continuing the Monday night webcasts as her Soul Series. This is the name of her weekly XM Radio broadcasts covering the spiritual stuff she’s most passionate about, but that she doesn’t feel the TV audience is ready for. I’ve heard her say so on the Radio show.

This is powerful stuff for the web and connecting people through talk shows online which is at the heart of the Heather Gold Show (tHGS) mission. She even used the Ghandi quote about “being the change you wish to see in the world” which I used for the first few shows.

If you want people to connect, the web is really much more the right medium than pure television.

Oprah’s basically using the web in a fashion similar to the TV medium. It’s a one-to-many show though they took questions via Skype and phone during these webcasts. These were scripted and pre-screened and structured in a standard TV fashion, but it’ a process that’s familiarized many with these tools. She had over half a million simultaneous streams.

Even with that kind of production, her webcasts made good use of the sense of all of us being together at the same time, doing the same thing. That feeling is a key part of communal prayer or meditation, which is really what was at the the heart of the spiritual study of these webcasts.

But that feeling is also at the heart of any collective connection. It’s at the heart of live performance and concerts. It’s at the heart of a live lecture or conference. It’s at the heart of sports gatherings and rallies It’s at the heart of a really great idea brainstorm and conversation. It’s at the heart of what I’m doing in tHGS.

I spend a lot of time thinking about Oprah and studying her show these days. She does television and integrated media properties incredibly well. Some of what we’re doing at tHGS is quite intentionally a subversion or inversion of what she’s doing.

The key difference to the interactive performance I practice and tHGS has developed is that it consciously shifts the form away from one-to-many. 

Oprah’s work grows from an era of top/down branding and one-to-many communication and *authority.” But authority never really was in the one other than what came from the attention of the many. The form of one-to-many ends up emphasizing the branded “expert” as knowing more than you and mattering more that you. I don’t think that’s her moral intention, but its inherent in the macroeconomics of the television system and branded person as “property” we’ve had for a while.

There is no more audience. It’s a change and it’s not. As Eckhart Tolle would say, it’s really a case of acknowledging what *is:* the inherent power and authority over self each person already has. It’s a change in recognition or consciousness.

More on what this means in the next post. Cafe Ritual is turning off the lights now.