About 15 years ago, during another big New York snowstorm, a Japanese TV crew caught me skiing up 8th Avenue from my then-apartment toward Central Park. I wouldn't have known about it, except one of my best friends, who is in Japan, asked if that could have been me skiing. (When he described it, I knew it was.)
Today, in another big snow dump, I had a very different, more communal, less surprising, and much more shared media experience. Skiing down Broadway then in Madison Square Park for a work break, I must have had my picture shot about about a dozen times. One couple told me they were from Barcelona. A Finnish man who MMS'd me the photo noted that Helsinki was similar in look to New York today. A blond woman who said she wasn't from New York shared another photo via email. An Indian mom and daughter chatted me up, asking if I was afraid to damage the skis on pavement.
It occurred to me how the image of my skiing on NY streets was shared to a wider group, geographically, with greater ease, and how easy it was for me to get a copy. How a larger number of people likely saw the video on Japanese broadcast TV, but that it got on the air that time through the filter of a cameraman who decided to shoot it, and a separate editorial chain all the way until air, and that the only personal connection happened when my friend happened to be watching, and gave me a call.
It occurred to me how much more communal the experience was today due to the media technology in everyone's hand and how I am now at least nominally connected a couple of them. Seeing those folks shooting my picture gave me a reason to talk to them, and them to me.
New world. I kinda like it.