Is There Value in Actual Experience Over Virtual Experience?

September 8, 2009 at 2:29 am 3 comments

One commonality that many Elon Interactive Media Graduate Students’ research proposals have is the question of, “Will there be a need to do actually so-and-so in the future?” For example, will there be books in the future? Will we actually need to learn anything in the future? Will there be a point in traveling in the future?

My answer to all of these questions is ABSOLUTELY.  There’s something to be said for being able to experience things with all five of our senses. At the moment there’s no “tastyvision” or “smell-o-vision” that allows you to taste or smell through a computer screen. And technology hasn’t developed a way you feel human touch through a screen either. I think these are things to consider for my topic (Travel 2.0) especially. What’s the value in actually hopping on a plane, flying over landmasses and arriving in Paris to have the Eiffel Tour loom over you? Personally, I think it’s great to be able to go to a website and take a 360 degree panoramic view of Paris, but I want to smell the exhaust of the Parisian taxis whizzing by me. I want to taste the baking bread from the boulangerie on the corner, and I want to kiss cheeks with a French stranger [not intended to be as creepy as it sounds].

At the same point, virtual experiences may be more beneficial and of more value for those populations who can’t experience the real thing. Perhaps you are confined to a wheelchair and the only way you can experience a dive through the Great Barrier Reef is through your computer. Or maybe you were laid off from works a few months ago and the only way you can go on vacation is through Second Life.

I don’t want readers to leave this post thinking that I have anything against virtual reality and virtual vacations, because I don’t. I see the merits in these things; I just think life wouldn’t be nearly as fulfilling experiencing everything through a computer! I like the 21-hour flights to Singapore with stopovers over in Frankfurt. I like getting the satisfaction of turning the page of a book after I’ve finished reading it. Will this all be eliminated in the future? Looks like we’ll have to wait it out and see.


Entry filed under: COM 530- Theory & Analysis, random musings.

Research Proposal – Travel 2.0: A Portrait of the Future of Travel and the Online Travel Landscape One Web Day Essay – Amusements on the Web

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. steveearley  |  September 8, 2009 at 5:48 am

    You get my early vote for best blog title. Here’s a theme song: I trust the LOL Cats will freak you out as well.

  • 2. allie  |  September 8, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    hey jq,
    i know you hate tumblr, but would you mind if i posted this on my blog?

    • 3. jqimedia  |  September 8, 2009 at 10:52 pm

      Post away!


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