Sharing the Moment vs. Living in the Moment

People don’t go to concerts for the performances anymore. No, that’s old-fashioned. Beyoncé could be ten feet away from you, belting her way through “Bootilicious, ” but you wouldn’t care. Beyoncé could be there, in the flesh, serenading you with “Halo”–but that’s not the point. The point is how many likes this video of Beyoncé serenading you with “Halo” will get on Facebook. Not to mention, how many people will comment with utter envy on your selfie with Queen Bey, her skin glowing with post-performance perspiration. People don’t go to concerts for the performances anymore. No, these days, people pay hundreds of dollars to record a shaky, blurry, amateurish Youtube video of a concert. People go to concerts to show other people that they go to concerts.

In his stand-up routine (shown above), Louis CK  explores the dominance of social media through an anecdote about his daughter’s dance recital:

Everybody’s watching a shitty movie of something that’s happening ten feet [away from them]…Why are you taping this? You’re never going to watch it! You don’t watch it; you’re just going to post it on Facebook–“No, you watch it!”…And guess what? They’re not watching it either.

It seems like we’ve entered an age in which the habitual act of broadcasting of our lives on social media dominates how we live–what we do, where we go, and who we are with. We do not live for the moment. We live for the likes.

This is something that I am guilty of. Every piece of good news–a status. A night out with friends–a photo. Even while I am still with the homies, laughing over gossip and a plate of In-N-Out French Fries, I cook up witty captions and ironic hashtags in my head. I am half-present, the other half of me floating off to cyberspace, preparing snapshots of my life to reveal to the masses.

But…Does anybody care?

“They’re not watching it either!” Louis CK exclaims. And, to an extent, he’s right: I don’t really care about what my friends (eh, acquaintances) post on Facebook. Sure, I may occasionally stalk their profiles (obsessively, in the case of certain individuals. Like ex-boyfriends).  Certainly there have been some posts that have resonated with me in some way, good or bad. For the most part, though, I think about the posts that crowd my newsfeed for as long as it takes me to press the “like” button.

“They’re not watching it either!”–I know this. I know.

And yet, I treat my statuses as if I were grooming them for publication at a top literary journal. I proofread for grammar. I obsess over word choice. I attempt to craft gripping hooks that will stop readers mid-scroll. I somehow convince myself that my post, among the plethora of Chipotle check-ins, links to cat videos, and Buzzfeed quiz results, will stick with them. The reality is, it probably won’t–not for long, at least.

So, if we are not fully invested in the now and if we are not fully invested in social media, when are we fully invested?

When are we truly engaged?

Post submitted by JoAnna 

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