Sunday, 5 January 2014

The Oversharing Sickness - Do you have it?

You make lunch. It looks tasty. You take a picture. You post it. Now you feel full. You take a selfie of yourself looking full. You post it. Now you've got food poisoning and you're throwing up. It's pretty impressive, bright green vomit. You take a picture, right?

No! You don't!

Oversharing on social media, do you do it? I know I do and am in constant danger of doing it. If you opened up my brain I wouldn't be surprised if you found little social media sharing buttons. When I'm amused by a thought, a twitter widget pops up with a question: Share it? When my eyes land on some juicy image, an instagram widget flashes up: Take a picture? Don't get me started on the hashtags #gettothepoint

Last week I went to FuerzaBruta at the Roundhouse. It's a theatrical experience involving stunning visual effects, loud music and lots of water. Or, as the website states it's an event 'where worlds collide, where dreams are real and reality takes a back seat. Give in to it, let go and enjoy the spectacular ride.'

Well, here's the problem. I couldn't 'give in to it' and 'let go' because reality failed to take a back seat. Instead reality took a front seat in the form of people holding their Smartphone's up in the air trying to video it all. We were seeing a spectacle of flashing lights and smoke, and there they all were trying desperately to capture it. Why? For what? Anyone standing behind them could see their videos were pathetic. It's like when you take snaps of fireworks, they never look as good as the real thing.

What struck me as ridiculous is that they had come to see a live show but were watching it through a tiny screen. Just enjoy it! I wanted to shout, Just be in the moment! What made me angry was that I had paid to see the show and because they were holding their phones up, my view was being cut off and the chance of me being immersed in the performance was impossible. Trembling with rage, I did ask someone politely to lower their phone at one point, which they did, looking surprised to find there were people behind them at all.

I'm an advocate for social media as a creative outlet, for business, building connections, promoting causes you care about, or just for pure entertainment. But using social media to prove that you exist, that you have a life, can turn you into a slave to it, forever seeking approval. Because why else do people feel the urge to take those crappy videos, if not to get a response, perhaps some 'likes' on Facebook, a few retweets, an OMG and an LOL? I've experienced it myself and it does my head in. In fact I often feel a need to reassess how I'm using my platforms.

Of one thing I'm sure, those phone adverts which tell you to buy their phone because with its super mega camera you will 'never miss a moment' are talking rubbish. Surely, the way you don't miss a moment is to put your phone down, be fully present and enjoy it? 


tu said...

Brilliant post -- true all over. I'm the same. Also, recently, I was upset to be banned from taking a picture of my child in a school play because other people had posted school pictures all over Facebook, of others' children, and there had been complaints -- so the backlash of social media means our family albums will now have holes in them. It would be nice if we could cherish some things to share in real life -- opening an album, putting it on Granny's lap, and not expecting a LOL.

Emily Benet said...

I can see how that must be annoying! Maybe the school should have an official school photographer (volunteer parent?!) to take at least a few for parents, printed so people won't bother scanning to their computers and uploading to social media. The trouble is because we don't use film anymore, we take SO many pictures rather than a few brilliant ones... but what will always annoy me most is people videoing live concerts. Aaargh!

Helen Barbour said...

I absolutely agree with this, Emily.

I love fireworks, but have had to stop going to displays, as the light from cameras all around me is so distracting and annoying.

I also spent one theatre performance with my hand held up, to block out the light from a phone somewhere in front of me - they weren't recording the show, but apparently had more important things to do than watch it!

It makes me sad to see people out as a group, but sitting there on the phones, rather than interacting with each other.

Turn your phone off and enjoy both the moment and the company of the people around you instead!