We all do it—compulsively whip out our camera phones at any given moment to document photos and videos of anything and everything. We do it to preserve the memory. Or maybe, we do it so everyone on Twitter, Facebook, Vine, and Instagram can see that we’re actually outside of our house being social. Are smartphones, and all of the technology at our fingertips, causing us to lose sight of what’s really important?
Recently, at a Yeah Yeah Yeah’s concert, the indie rock band posted signs throughout their venue, warning audience members:
The band had noticed the excessive use of phones during their concerts; people would hold up their iPhones the entire duration of the concert, trying to get the perfect angle of the band playing their favorite song captured on video, when really all they were accomplishing was watching the concert through a three-inch glass screen. It’s like viewers, after paying however large a sum to purchase a ticket, made a conscious decision to watch the concert, which was happening live just ten feet away from them, through an incredibly worse-quality medium, just to be able to show their friends or watch it again later, instead of appreciating the moment while it was there. Ask yourself a few questions, “was it worth annoying everyone else behind you? Has it made your life better? Will you ever look at it again?” I know my phone is chock full of snippets from BC’s Lupe Fiasco concert this past fall, but when I go back to watch my videos, I just see a blurry Conte stage and all I can hear is my own voice attempting (and failing) to sing made-up lyrics to a song I am pretending to know. Are videos like those really the “memories” we are trying to preserve? It’s hard for me to believe, but it is entirely possible to be a part of a live music experience without having to document it in some way—who would’ve thought?
Our emphasis on social media not only in class, but also the important role it has played in current events of the last few weeks, has certainly piqued my interest, as I’m sure it has for many of you guys as well. But all of this focus begs the question, are technology and our social media outlets altering our lives so much that we forget to appreciate what’s really important? What really is social media?
“…more about an evolution than a revolution…” –Professor Gerald Kane
All we can hope for is that this evolution will result in our favor. Optimistically, future innovations (i.e. Google Glass) that aim to make use of tech flow more seamlessly with life in general will prevent us from going down the destructive path our society seems to be headed down.