Common stepping on stage to do a surprise performance of Glory. Derrick Rose showing up at an outdoor basketball court in Chicago. Surprise! Amy Schumer and Jennifer Lawrence are on stage dancing to Uptown Girl with Billy Joel.
The natural instinct? Pull out the cell phone immediately. If you have your tablet on hand, even better. You NEED to record this moment! Everyone on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, they need to know. Right. Now.
In an effort to make sure hundreds of other people experience the moment, in the moment, the one person who is actually in the moment is not IN the moment.
Last week I wrote about the three ways we experience an experience. The In the Moment, the Memory and the Recorded Memory. I like them in that order, and I’ll use a wedding as an example because I’ve gone to 7,000 of them this summer. Whether you are the bride, groom or one of the guests, you want to be fully present. The more present you are the better the memory. Then, when memories begin to blur, going through a photo album not only helps preserve the memory, it allows you to sit next to someone you love and experience the same moments together.
Photos and videos add a little extra to the memory. Or they add by taking away like how senior year of high school I didn’t have acne at all. Thank you Schaffert Studios!
The fourth part of the experience is new. Still less than a decade old. I’ll call it Hashtag Sharing because regular sharing would fall under the Memory category.
Regular sharing is great, that’s where legends are born. The three foot fish you caught or the time you and your dad split 10 tacos then came home and realized woops, mom made dinner and it probably wasn’t really that big of a dinner but story + time equals legend, and that was a MOUNTAIN of Hamburger Helper that you and your dad took down pretending that you weren’t already full.
Did I say 10 tacos? I think it was 20.
Hashtag Sharing steals from the moment. That beautiful breakfast plate or that steak dinner, sure, take the photo before you nom-nom-nom it all away, but post it later. Tomorrow even. Nobody is sitting at their computer refreshing their screen every 30 seconds waiting for you to upload the photos and if they are, you might want to contact the authorities because they are following your life a little too closely.
Back to the wedding, you would never expect the groom to pull out a tablet to record his bride walking down the aisle or the bride and groom to take a selfie at the unity candle. Hang on a second pastor, just gotta post this real quick. Alright, cool, where were we? Oh kiss the bride, great, let me just get the selfie stick ready.
Now, granted, there are only a few moments in life (graduation, wedding, baby, etc.) that have this level of importance where it would seem ridiculous to be paying more attention to the social media posting than the event itself, but why not use these as the model? Why not experience every moment this way?
There is a reason those recollections take up entire servers worth of memory space in the brain. There’s a reason that your game winning shot from high school feels like it happened just yesterday. There’s a reason the first time you sleep with the person you love carries more weight than the first time you tried tiramisu and part of it, I honestly believe, is because a camera and social media were not involved.
And if a camera and social media were involved in the last example, you might want to contact the authorities…
I know I’m walking dangerously close to that line of full on motivational speaker, live in the moment! Live every moment like it’s your last! Live like you were dying hashtag Tim McGraw, so let me just pump the brakes a little bit and present this idea in a far less intense light:
Enjoy today, share tomorrow.
Nothing wrong with sharing. Nothing wrong with Hashtag Sharing. Nothing wrong with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, they’re all great ways to share what’s going on in your life or, as a viewer, feel part of the lives you may be 300 miles away from. On my wedding day, my cousin held up a phone with Facetime going so my grandfather, who was sick and couldn’t make the trip from Kansas City, could be part of the big day. When I hugged my parents and my grandma, next stop was waving to Poppo and so any time someone goes on a, “Technology is ruining us” sort of rant, I can’t raise my pitchfork in support. I’ve seen it do the exact opposite.
I’m sure this has been said before, or something close to it. I did a Google search and there are plenty of quotes about not worrying your life away (Solomon, Bob Marley, Jason Mraz) or not spending so much time making a living that you forget to make a life (that’s either Dolly Parton or the Dalai Lama) so all I suggest, my Medium Rare request, is that in an effort to share your life, don’t forget to live it too.
Alright. Next week I’m doing kind of a spinoff post from these last two. It’s not part of the series, think of it as kind of the Frasier to Cheers. It’ll be about social media and sharing but not necessarily part three of this series. This series is over. Yeah, I’m doing a terrible job explaining it so come by next Monday and see OR, if you’d like, type in your email below and I’ll send directly to you.