Today’s instant-update culture mocks itself with newfound clichés like “Instagram, or it didn’t happen,” but it may be coming truer with time.
None of us can really deny the tiny violin that plays for us when we forget to take a picture of our food while it was still in Instagram-worthy form, or when we reach the top of Camelback mountain only to find our phone battery dead. We want our friends, family and even our unfamiliar followers to see what we’re up to and, come on, we wouldn’t mind making them a little jealous, either.
In a recent New York Times opinion column, Frank Bruni shed light on a very normal and yet very unsettling fact: Our social networking sites have become our rulers.
In his article, “Traveling Without Seeing,”Bruni hones in on the idea that our dependence on technology has left us robbed of our ability to experience things firsthand and immerse ourselves in newness.
Bruni recognizes something not a lot of us want to: The Internet takes our encounters with life and belittles them. A walk through the park on your phone is not a walk though the park; it’s being on the computer in a grassy room.
On top of this barricade of Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and more is the fact that for some reason, a picture of your Starbucks is considered equally as relevant as your family reunion or hike through Yosemite. We find merit and meaning in the things we do and want to share them, so long as they reflect positively on the portrayal of our individual lives.
Everyone would like to think they have each and every detail of their lives figured out, but the fact is we never will.
However, thanks to social networking, it’s easier than ever to fabricate the kind of life you wish you had by carefully picking and choosing what events to document.
What about a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte and a laptop make it seem as though a person has their life together? No one can be sure, but there’s no doubt that proper placement and a fitting filter wins our “like” and a little bit of unspoken envy.
In fact, Fox News’ Dr. Manny Alvarez claims teenagers and young adults have a tendency to measure their self-worth by how many likes, comments and followers they possess on their social networks.
While it’s fine and dandy to have a visually appealing life, it’s finer and dandier to have a life of substance, experience and perhaps a bit of mystery.
Next time you spice up your afternoon with a sugary treat or make it to the top of a mountain with a beautiful view, leave the phone in your pocket. Try to enjoy the experience while it’s happening and save the bragging for later.
Send Haley your best Instagrams at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her @haleytonetti