Words according to Dakota, SHE II, and Raven Vanguard’s third member, also known as Sloth
I have been doing a lot of thinking lately. Mainly about how my generation tends to get a bad wrap for social media usage, addiction to phones, and for not living in the moment because pictures are taken of what we are doing and experiencing. We scroll and scroll. We feel like we are missing out because of that “highlight reel” effect, always seeing the positive points in others’ lives, causing us to think their life is more exciting or fulfilling.
I think you can see this generational shift in two separate lights. One, being the typical “put your phone away” response. You hear it all the time.
“The phone eats first.”
“Did it even happen if you didn’t take a picture?”
First of all, we are often good at making fun of ourselves for these habitual acts, so it is really not necessary to point it out. I can understand the annoyance if someone’s flash is repeatedly going off in a dimly lit and romantic restaurant space, trying to take video after video or food photos. But that’s not a generational issue, that’s just someone being inconsiderate.
My question is – is it really all that bad? I love seeing Instagram profiles chalk full of 35mm film photography scans. Were the people taking those photos more in the moment because it wasn’t an instantaneous upload to the app? Maybe. Did they attempt to capture a moment, a feeling, an experience? Absolutely. So did the person taking a picture of the food and human sitting across from them, on their phone. At least that’s how I feel.
Now, in my personal experience, I use social media a decent amount. I follow about 50% design related pages and 50% friends and family. I gain a massive amount of inspiration via the internet, and I personally cannot say that Instagram and Pinterest have negatively impacted the way I view the world around me. I am able to get a glimpse into hotels and restaurants I’ve never been to, I see products I never would have seen on a day to day basis, I learn about artists and people, all of which I hope to someday see, experience, and meet face to face. Yes, I capture a lot of what I do, and yes, I do find myself scrolling mindlessly at times. But I never find myself entirely consumed by the lives of others. I don’t always want to capture 100% of everything I do. I know the difference between physical and digital experience.
That being said, I find that by others posting and sharing what they see, do, and travel to, I am inspired to see those places, to go experience what they experience. To taste the menu, see the sights, be surrounded by the art. I’ll save my extra cash for a plane flight, to stay in a boutique hotel a design firm posted, to eat at places that travel bloggers rave about. I love the legitimate physical experience of being in a space and taking it all in. But I never would have known about even half if it weren’t for the influence of social media. To me, it’s a tool if you know how to make it one.
It is so important to know the difference between the real world and the one on your phone. To remember to not become consumed by things unrelated to what you want to see. To curate who and what you follow, and to use social media as a creative outlet and inspiration. We cannot change the fact that digital media is pushed upon our way of life, but we can have a positive experience if we allow ourselves the chance to be present in the real world just as much, if not more, than we are present online. Let yourself be immersed in inspiration from both. See and save the photos, and then go out to touch, taste, feel, explore.