Googling an actor from my new favourite sitcom this week lead me to think about one of the dangers of social media.
I fought it for so long, adamant I wouldn’t jump on the bandwagon and that nothing could fill the gaping Friends shaped void left in my life until earlier this year when I finally caved. Yes everyone, I’m now a fully fledged fan of The Big Bang Theory, a good five years after the rest of you. So I decided I wanted to find out more about my new favourite TV characters. However, I failed to find out much about Leonard Hofstadter (played by Johnny Galecki) other than this rather poignant quote: “I don’t understand the current frame of mind in our society that seems to say that any action is not of value until it’s broadcast somehow.”
Upon reading this I was immediately transported back to last year when I was accused by a friend of insulting my other half at the time because I hadn’t changed my status to ‘in a relationship’ on Facebook. These days, it would seem, it just isn’t official until you’ve taken this crucial social media step. I have also received several odd looks when people realise my last Facebook album dates back to 2010, as though they’re wondering whether or not I have actually been out since. It soon became clear Galecki had raised a very good point.
Earlier this week Will.i.am, star of The Voice, was seen – somewhat triumphantly – clutching the Olympic torch in one hand and his smartphone in the other as he tweeted furiously. It got me thinking about the time I went to New York several years ago. Instead of stopping to properly absorb such a fantastic city I found myself more interested in my new digital camera and becoming far too snap-happy for my own good, racking up a ridiculous 850 pictures by the end of my trip. It wasn’t until I got home I realised I had only really seen NYC – somewhere I had always dreamt of visiting – through a lens. Will it possibly transpire that somewhere down the line Mr I.Am might regret not tucking his phone away in favour of fully immersing himself in the historical event he was partaking in? What was it that meant he just couldn’t wait until he got home?
How many of us have taken a picture, looked at it then exclaimed to the room “Profile picture!” when we liked what we saw? To me it’s just another one of the signs that some of us have unwittingly fallen victim to pesky social media pressure. Could we be in danger – or dare I say it, already guilty – of concerning ourselves more about how we look having fun as opposed to actually having it?
Don’t get me wrong; I think it’s great to accumulate lots of great memories through photographs but if there comes a point where it prevents you from wholeheartedly enjoying yourself and being in the moment, maybe it’s time to put the camera/iPhone/Blackberry down. That goes for you too, Will.