Put your phone down and enjoy the view
As a great philosopher of our time, Aubrey ‘Drake’ Graham, once said, “I’m living inside a moment, not taking pictures to save it.”
Whether you’re a Drake fan or not, it’s impossible to dispute the striking truth in such a lyric. In many ways, Aubrey was ahead of his time. When he rapped those words on his debut studio album, Thank Me Later, in 2010, the impact of social media on our lives was merely a fraction of what it is today.
Let’s take a look back.
In 2010 Snapchat didn’t exist. Facebook was just a shadow of the monstrosity it is at present. Instagram was founded that year, but was only used by artsy folks. Back then when you wanted to get in touch with someone, you texted or (God forbid) called. If you wanted to capture an image you took a picture with a camera.
But carrying around a digital camera was cumbersome, and phone cameras were pointless if you wanted more than a fuzzy, low-resolution rendering of an image. Picture messages were such an anomaly that mobile phone carriers would even charge extra to send them.
Let’s fast-forward to 2018.
Everywhere and anywhere you go: whether it’s Piccadilly Circus in London or just down the way a bit in your hometown, everyone is posing for pictures. Whether it’s a snap to his lover, an Insta-story for her ‘personal brand’ or a Facebook check-in pic so his friends know he got that new job, it seems we’re all habitually obsessed with capturing everything we see and hear on our phones, to be shared within our social-media worlds.
Disclaimer: I’m not speaking from an ivory tower — I’m exactly the same. I’d venture a guess that most of my digital communications take place via picture apps of some sort. As a matter of fact, almost 40% of my iPhone usage goes to Snapchat and Instagram, where I chronicle my every move via stories and picture posts. Despite my penchant for pics, I’d bet that my numbers are on the low end of the spectrum.
Just yesterday I went for a morning walk along North Shore in beautiful Bermuda. Even though this is my home, the natural scenery never ceases to amaze. Yet when I arrived at the waterside, instead of being content to observe the stunning setting in the moment before me, the first thought — no, the first subconscious reaction I had was to reach for my phone and get a pic for my Insta and Snapchat stories.
When met with a view that was quite literally stunning, I wasn’t in the least bit stunned. Rather, I was more concerned with getting a picture to show all my followers and friends what I was ignoring in order to garner their attention.
It is troubling that today most of us spend such a large portion of our time trying to please thousands of followers, most of which we don’t even know in real life, beyond our screens.
My advice — as someone who is equally guilty of ignoring the beauty of the world around us — is this:
Just once, put your phone away and try not to take that picture. Live your reality for you — not your followers.
As Drake (perhaps hypocritically, based on his social-media presence) urged, “live inside the moment, don’t take pictures to save it.”