It’s become a common sight at concerts, events, celebrity appearances – even kids’ recitals. Expect to see it a lot at holiday plays and pageants. I’m talking about this:
I’m “old school” – a member of the last generation who will remember life before the internet – but this particular social phenomenon dismays me.
I remember attending “Skate America” prior to the Sochi Olympics, and “Stars on Ice” later that year. Many audience members chose to watch the performances through the viewfinders on their phones, rather than directly with their eyes. I understand the desire to capture the moment so you can relive it later, but I’m sure many of these folks also wanted to record the performances to show to friends – “I was there. I was in the room.”
What troubles me is how this removes us from the moment when it’s happening. Not only are we one step removed from the experience when watching it through a viewfinder, but we’re objectifying the performance and the person, rather than enjoying a feeling of connection. There’s an element of humanity we’re missing here.
(I should note that I have similar feelings about autographs and “me with celebrity” selfies. I’d much rather have a handshake, a hug, a conversation).
It’s fun to be “in the room” and to be able to relive that moment and share it with others. But for me, it’s much more gratifying to be “in the moment,” and to feel it all – a connection with the artist, an appreciation of their work, a sense of wonder.
I encourage you to be “in the moment” during the upcoming holiday season. Connect with people. Life authentically.