If this were a multiple choice question, the answer would have to be “All of the above”.
When the countdown was first used in 1929, its purpose was not to precisely synchronize a team working together to create a complex event. Its purpose was the create suspense.
In 1965, when the Soviets were the enemy and the transistor radio was cutting edge equipment, the U.S. Congress began hearings on the topic of electronic surveillance.
Those flashes of light at twilight might seem like a lasting symbol of summer magic, but the number of lightning bugs continues to diminish each year.
Captain Kidd was one of the most notorious pirates of the high seas. From the year that he died, songs and stories memorializing the dread pirate filled pop culture, each exaggerating his deeds and his wealth more than the last.
That depends on how you use it.