The Camera Phone Generation

Although revisionist tendencies cause older generations to crib about how the younger generation is lost in the world of technology, I have to agree. Suffice to say, I have a very intense love/hate relationship with technology and social media.

Yes, I do use technology and yes I can’t survive without it but part of me wonders sometimes what I would have been like if I’d grown in a pre-tech boom era because sometimes the idea sounds more and more appealing. Would I have been someone else entirely? Does social media embed itself into our self concepts?

I think Facebook in particular does.

Facebook is like a social media site that consistently freezes us in a high school mode, constantly vying for likes and garnering comments to validate self worth and when people don’t get those likes they’d hoped for, they feel disparaged. Facebook is more often than not, a place for validating ‘like’abiilty and popularity. In truth, do we really care if someone we know goes out for lunch and care enough to look at the pictures of the dishes they ate?

Another feature of Facebook that irked me was the summation of the year in a video once 2014 came to an end, irresponsibly assuming that everyone had a wonderful year to sing and reminisce about. An algorithm that makes such videos is obviously not going to select only good memories and it inevitably brings to light things that perhaps you could do without remembering.

Then there’s selfies. Yes, let’s take a bunch of pictures to validate how much fun we’re having and how we have a social life and upload them on Facebook.  Don’t get me wrong, I like taking pictures with people but sometimes it seems we’re too preoccupied with taking a picture of a good time than actually enjoying it. I find that when I’m actually having fun, selfies are the last thing on my mind. After all we’ve got memories and those are even better than pictures.

In fact I think Kit Harington said it best:

“I find it really refreshing when someone just wants to come up, shake my hand and tell me they like the show. For me that’s a nice interaction. A photo is just proof that you met me, and often you’re too busy worrying about the picture to just enjoy the chat. Camera-phones are destructive, and I do wonder about the camera-phone generation. People watch everything through this little screen – they go to concerts, and they film it. If there’s a live event on the streets at the Edinburgh Fringe, then they film that. I wonder what that does to our memory. […] One of my friends, who is also an actor, has started to say, ‘I don’t do photos, but I will give you a hug’. I’m thinking of taking that one up myself, because it shows you care about the interaction, and you appreciate the person without ruining it with a selfie.”

Well I guess Jon Snow doesn’t have to worry about all that at Castle Black. He’s got wildlings, grumkins and snarks to attend to.


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