Pics or it Didn’t Happen…

Most of us can admit to hearing, or even saying, this phrase at some point in time. Said with a smile or a laugh, it was obviously meant as a joke. Or was it? We live in a society that if our lives are not documented they seem to have no worth. If you can’t quantify the likes or views or comments, is it even worthy of doing?

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There are obviously many things that we do during our daily lives that we don’t document. There are many more things that are momentous and special that we keep, at least for the moment, to ourselves. But can you think of the last time that you went to a concert, graduation, wedding, watched a sunset, or walked by Gasson without taking a picture? It may sound ridiculous but can you honestly say that none of the above applies to you? It is hard to avoid the impulse to share exciting or beautiful things in our lives and its natural for us to preserve memories for later times. But when does it start becoming less about the experience and more about what others think of the experience?

When I tried to formulate my initial thoughts on social media, I was all over the place. On one hand, I felt that social media perfectly describes its goal. It is a media platform that helps us be more social. We can connect with friends from around the world while at the same time keep up to date on popular news and pop culture. On the other hand, I feel that social media is becoming an oxymoron as it is removing us from social interactions and honest relationships. Rare is the honest Monday morning conversation where we ask each other about our weekends. Many times we already know the person’s answer because we’ve watched their snapchat story so either we feign surprise and intrigue when they tell us or we don’t bother to ask. Which is worse?

Strange actions become normal…

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And normal actions become strange…

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The standard we have for sharing our lives and communicating with others is drastically changing with the increased usage of social media. We are constantly becoming more private in public and more public in private. I wonder if one day there will be no distinction. I fear for the day that someone goes Facebook live during the first child’s birth.

Just checked… it’s already happened…

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Photos, statuses, tweets, and videos are capturing every moment of our lives and I will be the first to admit that I have benefited from and have been entertained by this constant sharing of content. As I reflect, I admit my thoughts are very apprehensive, especially as I examine my own daily… hourly use of social media. However once I separate the extreme stories of social media use and addiction from the average user’s story, I can once again see the benefits. We can support our family and friends, learn about current events, stand up for what we believe, and utilize a platform to share our thoughts and beliefs.

Social media, like any system, is not perfect. However I choose to be optimistic and I hope that further study and examination of social media will prove that its benefits outweigh its disadvantages.

6 comments

  1. I think whether the positives outweigh the negatives largely depends on how you (and how companies) use it. I do find that SM actually can lead to deeper conversation if it allows you to cut through the small talk to the important stuff.

  2. The first couple paragraphs of this post really resonated with me. After being one of “those people” that would stick their phone in the air and take videos at concerts or sporting events, I now have a hard rule against it. I found that when I was taking the video, I wasn’t actually enjoying the moment that I was trying to preserve. While technology and social media have made it easier to share these moments with anyone and everyone, I also hope that it doesn’t get too out of control and that some events can actually stay private (like child birth).

  3. I can relate to your first couple paragraphs, Molly. It is said to see someone at monumental events and always updating their snapchat story or trying to get the perfect picture for instagram. I am absolutely a culprit of this behavior, but I wish it wasn’t the norm. I do catch myself excited when I don’t have service for a weekend because then I can live in the moment..but why cant I willingly disconnect? Why cant we all see that pictures are great for the memories but we won’t even the remember what happened if we don’t pay attention in the moment.

  4. Let’s just say that if this was a tweet I would retweet it. In fact, I might even just tweet the link. I definitely believe there is this line that cuts off between genuinely living and posting for content. Speaking to your concert reference, I think it would be cool if an artist made a zero cell phone policy for a concert to see how an audience would potentially have a better experience in the long run. I’ve attempted to write about this topic as well and find myself going back to a quote from Sigmund Freud, “What’s more important, our experiences or our memories of them?”

  5. This was a really great blogpost. I was at a concert last night and all the people in the front row had their phones out recording the show as opposed to simply listening and enjoying with their friends. I would be willing to bet the artist would rather have people just listen and enjoy rather than record and take pictures. Social media has made living in the moment tougher than ever.

  6. This is so true. I recently went on a trip with 14 other people where I wasn’t allowed to have my phone and my initial thought was what would I do? How would everyone who wasn’t on my trip know I was having fun if I didn’t post photos? It is sad that I was about to be going to a new country with amazing people and all I was worried about was not being with my phone. It can feel like a safety net to have access to social media at all times.

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