A camera for words?

A recent Facebook post by uni colleague, K. Hefti, included an infographic from Mashable that got me thinking about the impact of social media on the way we communicate.

The infographic included this comment:

Consider this: 24% of respondents to one survey said they’ve missed out on enjoying special moments in person because – ironically enough – they were too busy trying to document their experiences for online sharing. Many of us have had to remind ourselves to “live in the now” – instead of worrying about composing the perfect tweet or angling for just the right Instagram shot.

But all this ‘worrying’ about composing the perfect tweet or getting the best Instagram shot poses the question:

Is social media replacing the way we communicate or is it simply an extension of how we do it?

To me, social media is as it is defined: a tool that allows us to connect and share with each other.

Social media isn’t replacing the way we communicate but becoming an extension of it. It is introducing new levels of interaction that transcend geographic isolation and an easy way to stay regularly connected. It can supplement our ‘real-life’ friendships.

I was discussing this concept with Val, a work-friend, who came up with the analogy that social media is like a camera for words with a few added benefits:

  • We can chronicle what we do in REAL TIME and communicate that to our networks immediately
  • It is an album of words, pictures and sounds that can be shared infinitely – history is captured in new ways
  • Our experiences are personalised by what we’re feeling and who we’re sharing it with

Critiquing social media as distracting us from experiencing moments is fair, but think of a host of other ‘things’ that distract us; taking pictures, going to the bathroom, blinking…

If anything, social media is allowing us to engage with the experience MORE, we’re not simply absorbing the experience but actively thinking about it as we tweet/pose.

What are your thoughts?


2 thoughts on “A camera for words?

  1. A camera for words, I like it! Social media can definitely distract from enjoying the experience. It drives me crazy to be at a live-music, where there’s a sea of people taking pictures to post or videos to upload. Does anyone really watch all of their crappy footage of concerts? We need to live in the moment and enjoy! But one way social media is enhancing the experience is that it’s an auto-curator. We don’t spend as much time choosing the photos to collect or arranging them, or trying to find something months or years later. Everything is more accessible and it’s instant. It’s arguably a better use of time compared to the rolls and rolls of film people used to capture on holidays (not to mention the hours of horrid “slide nights”… zzzzzzzzz)

  2. Few years ago I went to a Snoop Dogg concert and spent most of the main set taping it on video, which I later uploaded to Facebook, instead of doing what I should have been doing, rapping and singing along and proudly throwing up the Westside! Definitely agree with the concept of a camera for words, sometimes I will now take a photo for the express purpose of uploading it to social media such as Facebook or Instagram,


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