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The NFL Fiasco Is a Sign That Our Virtual Worlds Are Overtaking the Real One


As the build-out of the virtual world continues, televised sports may join horse-racing and soap operas in the dustbin of the past.

It's easy to miss the slow and steady improvement in our new virtual worlds while we fret about the looming disasters stemming from the decline of the physical and financial one. LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) adds a feature or two. We refine our Twitter follows to better reflect our interests. Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) tweaks its algorithm so we see only the updates we care about. Pinterest and Instagram go viral. Spotify and Pandora (NYSE:P) get better. Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) grows its platform. Media brands optimize their sites for tablets and smartphones. The iPhone 5 launches and LTE goes mainstream. A year or two passes, and it's remarkable to see the improvement.

And it's shaping how we interact with our communities. I have real world friends with whom I use online media to strengthen the real world relationship. And I have online friends with whom I physically meet up to strengthen the online relationship. The lines between the two are blurring, and I'm not sure which matters more.

All I know is it's a lot harder to radically improve the physical world than the virtual one. To have flying cars, space flight, teleportation, and futuristic public transit requires trillions of dollars, scientific breakthroughs, public-private partnerships, political harmony, and years of build-out. Potentially radical improvements to the virtual world require a handful of people and the money to pay for Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) Web services. In the near-term anyway, the virtual world is likely to continue to gain share relative to the physical one.

So it's hard not to chuckle as so many invested in the NFL thrash and moan about replacement referees. As the build-out of the virtual world continues televised sports may join horse-racing and soap operas in the dustbin of the past.

Twitter: @conorsen
No positions in stocks mentioned.

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