Alright, let’s be honest. These days, it is almost impossible to go anywhere or do anything and not get a photo. Whether it’s brunch with friends or a vacation with family, we are constantly posting our whereabouts to social media. Everyone is always on the hunt for the perfect food photo or a candid snapshot to complete their Instagram feed. Even if you aren’t posting to Instagram or Snapchat, everybody is looking to document these fleeting moments.
This is not inherently a bad thing. Social media allows us to connect with a wide range of people in seconds. It is a place for community-building, self-expression, and having fun. However, there are times when the pressures of social media can get a little out of hand.
In the past month, I’ve been to about three concerts, and it has become more and more apparent to me how phones and social media are taking over the concert experience. Attending a concert and not seeing someone recording a video or taking a picture is almost unimaginable. As I said before, taking videos or pictures is not inherently negative; I love recording videos of my favorite songs at concerts too. Yet, when capturing an Instagrammable moment becomes the sole purpose of a concert, I start to feel a little squeamish.
Photo Credit: Drew A. Kelley
For me, the line is drawn when individuals are no longer enjoying themselves or living in the moment because of the focus on their phones. For example, last May I saw Billie Eilish in Portland, Oregon. As I looked around the arena from the pit, I noticed that a lot of people were experiencing her performance through their phone screen. The camera was held right in front of their faces, and instead of watching her, they were just watching what was being projected onto their phones. Billie addressed the crowd about this, urging her fans to move their phones to the side and watch her with their own eyes.
This made me think about how much time I spend on my phone, both in general and in specific moments. Concerts should be a time for enjoying live music that I can otherwise only hear through my headphones. If I wanted to watch a video of the artist, I could do that at home on Youtube. Since then, I have made an effort to put my phone down at concerts and just take everything in.
It’s also important to reflect on why you want a certain video. Is it because you want to look back and remember a special moment? Or is it more so because others can see your story and be jealous of the awesome time you are having? While it might not be intuitive at first, self-reflection about actions on social media can be very telling of our true intentions.