Do you remember a few years ago how everybody and their father had a videocamera and would relentlessly videotape every family moment as though it were a piece of important family history? From birthday celebrations to new births, you could relive the glory (or lack thereof) of the moment for years to come (but not forever, since all magnetic media, CDs and DVDs eventually degrade over time).
Do you remember a few years later how digital cameras and camera phones became the rage, allowing people to snap every moment of their lives into digital memory, forever memorializing that time you fell on your ass on the icy stairs?
Well, now it’s happening to blogging.
Leave it to people to find yet another way to distance themselves emotionally from actually living in the moment, instead worrying so much about capturing “the moment” for all of eternity.
Yes, people are writing, actually writing down their mundane thoughts as they occur to them (or try and encapsulate them into some wry observation that probably has been made a million times over), while “living” in the moment.
But how much “living” is someone doing when they are, in fact, not living in the moment, but trying to describe or write down the moment for others to read? I mean, a digital camera snapshot was a step up from the camcorder, because a snap takes 2 seconds to compose and take. A camcorder meant holding something (since apparently nobody was familiar much with that invention called a tripod) while panning and zooming enough to make someone seasick. Writing, on the other hand, takes actual concentration and thought. Because if you don’t put some concentration or thought into it, you get wildly non-creative entries like, “Wow, we’re eating dessert now… It is soooooooo good!”
Nice. Thanks for sharing.
So while a movie tries to capture the moment so you can relive it in real-time, a photograph captures the flavor of the moment that you can fill in the blanks with your own warm memories and recollections (which is one of the reasons we have memories in the first place!).
Blogging it does neither. Blogging your life as it happens — especially event blogging — really does no justice to the moment and even less justice to your loved ones or your readers. Thoughts written on the fly are rarely memorable or actually, well, thoughtful. They are all too often bland observations or descriptions that you could just as easily write yourself.
And I’m not the only one who thinks so, of course…
Many agree that it’s hard to fully participate in an event if you’re trying to compose pithy, thoughtful notes at the same time. Some academics say the live posts are the latest twist in the decades-old conflict between living in the moment and memorializing it from behind a camera lens, only worse. “People who are live-blogging are psychologically more distant from the event,” says Clay Shirky, a professor of social software at New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program.
Step away from the computer for 2 minutes and actually go and live your life.
Trust me. We’ll still be here when you get back.
WSJ Article: The Minutes of Our Lives