Wow in the Here and Now
We have just learned that Oxford Languages, the creator of the Oxford English Dictionary has announced their Word of the Year chosen by us, the public. This is the word or phrase that best reflects the mood of the past 12 months, and for 2022 is “Goblin Mode”, defined as a “type of behaviour which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations.”
I guess a couple of years working from home and Zooming in your PJs will do that to a nation.
The two other contenders were #IStandWith and Metaverse. More on that last one in a minute, or maybe once I have finished dropping biscuit crumbs into my keyboard and bed sheets, seeing as I am typing this from home in full goblin mode. Deal with it.
As event organisers, we tend to have a different set of words that sum up our particular zeitgeist, and the phrase that we are hearing most often is “Wow Factor”.
Our clients are moving back to in-person events and perhaps in a bid to shake off the hangover left by the last couple of years, they are looking for Wow. Not just great, or even excellent, but full-on jaws-on-the-floor wonderment. “No problem”, we say, as we kick the ‘Shoebox of OK’ under the desk and rummage around in the Magic Drawer of Dreams and Sparkles.
In truth, Wow Factor is one of those phrases that is easy to put on a shopping list but incredibly hard to interpret, and completely subjective. We know that Jude Bellingham has it, but which branch of Argos he found it at we have not a clue.
But we know what our clients mean. We interpret Wow Factor as meaning something that you haven’t seen before, can’t quite work out how it’s done, and which stays with you after the event has finished.
ABBA reforming for one last tour and playing live on stage isn’t going to capture the magic of their heyday, however well-preserved they may be. But combine those classic performances with cutting-edge avatars that appear as holograms, and you have the show of the year in ABBA Voyage.
Arthur C. Clarke explained it like this: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”.
Magic and Wow are what you might call bedfellows, and we must look for the biscuit crumbs they leave us as clues in their bed sheets. An analogy too far there perhaps.
Another phrase we have been asked about by our clients this year is Metaverse — “what is it, where can we see it, and do we need to be in it”? The answers, rather unhelpfully are, “it’s evolving”, “here and there” and “probably”.
The sentiment behind the questions though is very clear. We’ve heard rumours about the next iteration of the internet and now we want to see it. We have been using, by and large, the same mechanism for exploring all the information the world has to offer for 20 years and it’s time to move on. We all want Wow Factor.
We will be talking more about the Metaverse and our particular flavour of Wow in the coming weeks with an exciting case study of an event we have just done.
Using cutting-edge technology like Metahumans, motion capture and AI content generation mixed with existing event technology, we delivered something that left the audience with that magic sense of wonder we had as children when there were so many things we hadn’t seen before, and every day had Wow Factor it seemed.
I like to think that Wow stands for World of Wonder, and our imagination is the portal.
To enter, you just need to suspend disbelief for a moment, let that door appear and wander through.
Even in your PJs. Take biscuits.