BEIJING SNAPSHOT: as Olympics Ebb, Smartphone Synchronicity | Know-how Information

By TED ANTHONY, AP National Writer

BEIJING (AP) — The smartphones glowed. The irony echoed.

As section of the closing ceremony Sunday evening for the most locked-down and sequestered Olympics in human history, a carefully curated crowd packed — perfectly, dotted, truly — the famed Bird’s Nest stadium as a warm and humanistic present unfolded.

The show alone, headed by famed Chinese director Zhang Yimou, rather burst with color and new music and electrical power and even joy. It felt disconnected from a COVID-compartmentalized Winter season Games that, inspite of its insistent theme of “Together for a shared foreseeable future,” stored individuals aside by the hundreds — both people within and outside the house its calibrated bubble.

As the closing ceremony arrived at its denouement, one thing intriguing unfolded. It was the form of instant that has develop into typical in the submit-lighter-at-the-concert era.

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Before the ceremony, the formal group preppers had exhorted people in attendance to, at a particular second, acquire out their telephones. “When the Olympic flame is about to be extinguished,” the emcee stated, “hold up your cellular phone, convert it on and sway to the music.”

And so they did, these diligently screened representatives of a thoroughly screened Game titles, these individuals who had handed by means of protection screenings and swabbing of their mucous membranes and all kinds of other gates and portals and checkpoints to assemble here for the celebration which is supposed to symbolize the world coming together in the spirit of excellence and amiable competition.

In The Period of The Cellphone, humanity is negotiating a new relationship with itself. But as we clutch our exceptional and awful gadgets, be it swaying in unison in an Olympic Stadium or sitting by itself and achieving across the ether, are we jointly but usually aside? Or aside but constantly collectively?

The smartphone, barely a teenager in 2022, has — like many youngsters — sucked up most of the oxygen in the home. And as these Olympic trustworthy in the Bird’s Nest held their phones skyward to become totems of heat and togetherness towards cold and COVID, a Chinese track identified as “You and Me” performed and the text “One World” have been shown in fireworks, it was straightforward to ponder: Is this now the best link we can hope for?

Ted Anthony, AP’s director of new storytelling and newsroom innovation, is the AP’s previous director of Asia-Pacific news and former China information editor and is covering his seventh Olympics. Observe him on Twitter at

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