I’m as guilty as anyone of living my life through social media. It seems like every single major or minor event is shared with friends and strangers alike.
But one thing which has recently occurred to me is how much we miss when viewing life through a social media lense. It seems that we are so wrapped up in capturing life’s moments on a 6inch screen in 8-megapixels that we are missing the bigger picture, the real picture.
On Thursday I took Tom to see the Christmas Lights switched on. People around us held their phones aloft recording events on the stage. It seems even minor celebs are worthy of capturing on our tiny screens. I picked up Tom so he could see and held him tight to me. Head to head. After the countdown and the lights went on the fireworks started. We stood together. Heads above the surrounding crowd and watched the fireworks. I shared in his pure innocent awe at the colours and explosions and sound above the crowd. We shared that moment. We captured that moment. Not on a tiny screen on a tiny device, but in our hearts and minds and memories.
Standing there with my boy’s arms around my neck just watching the display I realised that this is what is important. It’s not about what we can commit to electronic memory to be forgotten as soon as it’s happened, it’s about what we can feel and remember. What we can share with those people who matter to us.
So next time you experience something. Next time there is an event. Put away your phone. Hold those who matter to you close, and simply enjoy the sensation of sharing a time and place. You’ll get more from that act of intimacy than you ever will from your Instagram picture or your tweet.
8 thoughts on “Life through a social media lense”
I could not of said it better than that. It’s true we see spend so much time of social media we fail to really see what is happening around us. I was at a gig recently and everyone had their cellphones held aloft. It was sad too see, People too busy trying to capture the experience rather than experiencing the experience.
So true. People are too busy taking selfies to actually stop and look at what’s around them. A phone an easily get lost or broken and your pictures gone forever. Memories, however, can never be taken away from you. They stay in our own hard drives forever.
I’m all for taking a few pictures of an evening’s events, but I agree that a lot of the time we get wrapped up in that and forget to enjoy the moment. I usually take a halfhearted snapshot of whatever it is (I don’t know why, maybe as proof that I actually do things), and then put the phone away and enjoy whatever it is I’m doing. I have so many terrible, terrible photos and videos of great shows I’ve been to. But honestly, I remember the experience more than any photograph could ever portray. The pictures are merely a way to say, “Hey Instagram! Wish you were here! I’m having more fun than all of you.”
In today’s 21st century, it seems that technology surrounds everyone in such an engrossed society that depends so much on social media. From communication to posts and other activities, social media has taken away of truly connecting with others in person face to face. In a sense, not only has it destroyed the closeness and togetherness of community, but it has also ruined reputations and conjured immature decisions regarding frivolous pictures. Social media has prevented individuals to truly living to the fullest and making precious moments count. Maybe as humans, we just feel the need to be dependable upon it every day unless of course it is only this mindset that we continue to use as an excuse. It is ironic how social media is supposed to help others communicate with each other when rather it allows us to be anti-social behind a computer screen away from everyone, isolated and alone. Although, there are some pros to social media, this post truly expresses the problems with technology and it is exquisitely written.
It seems to me that people nowadays think that part of the experience is “proving it.” Or maybe it’s showing off? It’s like back in the day, when parents used to sit everyone down for a slideshow from their latest vacation, except back THEN it was generally just a one time thing. and now it’s three times a week, or every weekend! I try to catch myself, these days, when I start doing the same thing – pulling out the phone whenever something “cool” is happening, so I can post it on social media so friends and acquaintances can spend half a second clicking a button to increase my feelings of self-worth. A few years ago, I went to the Fourth of July fireworks with my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew. At first, I wanted to take pictures of everything around us. Then, a little bit of real world managed to creep in, and I said to myself, “Hey, DUMMY, here you are on a beautiful summer evening, with your nephew who you love to pieces. Put the phone down, take your shoes and socks off, and go run through the grass with your nephew.” And so I did. I even bought him a bubble-blowing gun, and we ran around with other kids blowing bubbles. Best. Summer. Ever. And I have no pictures to prove it… and I’m OK with that.
There’s gotta be room for both though no? Sure, totally get where you’re coming from. I was at a gig and all I could see what a sea of cellphones being held up to record it. People too interested in having bragging rights rather than just enjoying themselves. But there are huge benefits from being able to capture a moment.
How many times have you looked at a picture on your phone/tablet/laptop and thought, “oh yeah, I remember that!” If you hadn’t captured the moment would it not have been lost forever.
So may events in life will stick with you forever. So many others will not. Little moments of joy or sorrow or pain forgotten. Capture them!
I agree with you completely. That’s the whole reason I’ve not really gotten into social media. At first I thought, what a great way to stay in touch with people who have moved away. But I’ve found that it’s the exact opposite. We post something, it goes out into the world, but we never “touch” the people in our lives. It’s like having a one-sided conversation, where I tell “everyone” everything that’s going on, but never see their expression or feel their emotions. I have no idea if they even receive it. We are forgetting what it’s like to tell a funny story and hear someone laugh with us. Or to tell someone about our pain and feel them hug us and touch us. Life is meant to be lived and shared in person and through verbal communication – not lived vicariously through someone else’s photo or limited to 140 characters.
Very true. We spent New Year’s Eve outside, on the bridge, looking at fireworks. We did not have our camera; my SO mentioned it before we left, but I had no idea where it was. I said, Better this way, we could not come close to how beautiful it is with our pictures anyway.
And it was true. I felt that the fireworks reached me so much more; felt moved to tears, thinking of all those people shooting them up in the sky, with glee over the festivities, perhaps also hope at the New Year, perhaps nostalgia or sadness or joy at the year fading away. I truly felt as if, in the moment, I was connected to these people and their emotions.
If we had our camera, we would be focusing on the screen, trying to make a decent shot and failing and getting annoyed at failing. I really like the memory better and hope others will heed your advice!