Most of us are guilty of being on our phone too much (me included). But when do moments cease to be moments remembered when we don’t snap a photo of it for Instagram or Facebook? Are our special memories starting to only be validated by the photos and selfies we share on social media? Are we starting to only take part in activities, go on vacations, or venture on outings to get a popular picture?
These are questions that crop up in my mind every time I post a photo to Instagram. Is a beautiful view less meaningful when we don’t share it on social media?
I posted this sign at one the the most photographed places in Seattle: Gasworks Park. Don’t get me wrong, everyone is entitled to a Gasworks Park Instagram pic – it is a place where we share great views, great friends, and great memories. But when we cease to gather here to enjoy the view and instead come to get a photo with at least 11+ likes, should we start reevaluating our purpose for social media in our lives?
Social media is an amazing tool when used positively. It can help a business grow, reconnect with old friends, and share memories with faraway relatives. But when I need to start validating my existence as a fun/attractive/artistic/successful/filtered/edited person, I cease to be a true version of myself. Instead, I start creating a hyperreal version of my life that blurs the lines between truth and deception.
When we put down our phones and take in the scenery like “the olden days” (5 years ago), the moment is fleeting and temporary. But that is what makes it so special – we are in that moment with our thoughts and hopefully in good company to share something brief and beautiful. We’re engaged and conscious in the present to realize that these times are short but can feel infinite. We’re here to live in the moment, take it in, and then pass along to the next moment. Not through the lens of a camera. Not filtering, editing, posting a better quality scene of the one we’re supposed to be viewing right in front of us.
Let’s make an effort to realize that reality is outside of our phones and just because we do not “Instagram” them, that doesn’t mean amazing moments didn’t happen – they just might be too special to share with the rest of the social media world.