Put Your Damn Phone Away and Enjoy the Show

In this day and age there’s no escaping technology, it follows us everywhere we go and is an enormous part of what we do on a day to day basis. The extent to which we use our technology is more invasive and infiltrating than one might think, as we don’t often realize that we’re using our phones and other devices when we should really be putting them away and enjoying the moment. Technology robs us of the ability to live in the moment, to enjoy what’s going on around you as it’s happening and to take it in as memory in your head instead of on a hard drive. 

The way we think about going out to any sort of event has changed since the infusion of mobile devices and social networking into our every day lives. We can’t just enjoy the night any more, we have to fully document it so we can enjoy it later. To start of the whole process, instead of just leaving the house and getting on with one’s life you run to Facebook and make sure that you post about what you;re about to go do, tag all our friends that are attending with you and the exact location where all this will be taking place. You know, because it won’t be any fun if know one knows about it, right? 

Next, we get out and go to the event, say a concert in this case. Once we’re there pictures have to be taken before, during, and after the performance so that we can look at how we felt afterwards and relive the memories. During the show you live-tweet whenever the next song starts, sharing your opinion of the performance with the general public. Not to mention that during your favorite song you have to pull out your iPhone and make sure to take video of it, making sure that you don’t move the camera in the wrong direction so you can’t see the singer. When all is said and done, you head home and post on Facebook again about how great the night was and retag all your friends so they can remember to. 

Looking back on the night you might have the pictures and the status updates, but where are the memories? All the time spent trying to capture that moment could have been spent living in it, not worrying about documenting it so that everyone can see. Personally, I think there’s a lot more value in being able to actually remember those moments than being able to look at pictures and video of them. there’s nothing quite like being there, living in the moment and taking in all the energy and emotion of an event. that memory of when your favorite band starts to play the first notes of your favorite song causes chills to go down your spine and the hair on the back of your neck to stand up . It’s almost like reliving it all, knowing that you were there in person soaking it all up. Looking back at video that you shot is no different than looking at video one of your friends or a total stranger shot on youtube. It’s just not the same, the emotional attachment just isn’t as glorious or breathtaking anymore. Technology robs us of those feelings so for your own sake, put your damn phone away. 

(P.S. I’m currently headed off to see Public Image Ltd. at the Marquee. Guess who’s phone will be safely in his pocket?)

6 responses to “Put Your Damn Phone Away and Enjoy the Show

  1. I agree that technology robs us of precious time. Every time we tweet, post a status, check email, Facebook, etc. we lose seconds, minutes, and over time, days that could have been spent more productively soaking up all life has to offer. Personally, I find this tagging and live tweeting during events (concerts, theatre performances, movies, etc.) to be a bit ridiculous. At some point, we ought to wonder if anyone really cares that we’re so excited to be going to _____ event (with X person), that they’re playing our favorite song, or how amazing a night it was, because I know I don’t care. I’d rather, as you mentioned, experience the moment and remember it with memories. Why spend time trying to document a perfect moment imperfectly (bad angles, behind too many people, bad sound quality, etc) than remember it perfectly as it was? While it is good to document some important moments in life, don’t live your life behind the lens of your camera or the keyboard of your smart phone, it is better go out and experience life.

    • To kind of branch off of what you said, you know what really annoys me? It annoys me when I get tagged in a post that I don’t want to be tagged in! I don’t want people to know where I am at all times! And to refute your points (and mine as well), sometimes it is nice to have pictures that help you remember special days and special events. So I guess we shouldn’t completely power down, but maybe power down after we take our pictures.

  2. The fact of the matter is that technology is as intertwined with our lives as food and shelter. If someone has a phone with internet connection, she can continually update so her friends know her every activity. An interesting query posed by this post is if continually posting about your activities detracts from their real life value. This is hard to judge. When someone is updating their status about some event they are attending, they aren’t experiencing it – they are outside of the moment during the time they take to post. However, I would argue that not much is lost. In the case of the all-too-common #yolo drinking pictures and statuses, the time spent creating a post about the activity is probably healthier than doing the activity itself. Likewise, if someone is having an amazing experience they want to post about (such as a beautiful hike/sunset/finished painting etc) the few minutes taken to post probably don’t greatly detract from the experience itself. The only risk is that people become more concerned with what other people think of them on FB than trying to experience life for life itself.

  3. Every time I read a blog post like this, I always end up feeling bad about myself because I am one of “those people” who are addicted to technology. I also understand how much time it robs me of, but I can’t help my desire to constantly be connected. In fact, your comment about how we cannot just enjoy our night without documenting it to enjoy it later is completely accurate. More often than not, us “technology-abusers” spend more time posting statuses and pictures of our events than actually enjoying said events. And while not enjoying these events, we lose the memories. We really should power down more often, and I think that I should personally power down more often! After reading your blog post, I think that I will power down tonight while at my brother’s football game!

  4. To kind of comment about what everyone else is saying, I think that it is important to remember those special once-in-a-lifetime moments by living in the present. Those are moments that one will never get back. However, I think there is a bit of a difference between totally being entranced by technology and missing the moment versus using technology as an aid to help remember those special times.

    Video cameras, cameras, cell phones (for recording or taking pictures), etc.- all of these can be very useful in helping one to relive memories. In this fashion, I don’t think that they deter from the experience; they help to keep the experience fresh for years to come. Conversely, I think a unique moment would be ruined if one were to text the whole time. Texting, unlike video recording or taking pictures, will in no way help one to relive those moments. It completely takes a person away from the present, whether it be at a concert, spending time with family or friends, at a sporting event, etc. So yes, I would agree that memories can be ruined by our obsessive use of technology, but only in a way that the technology secludes a person from the present.

  5. Overall I thoroughly agree with the last paragraph of this blog. Having been a musician I understand the joy that comes from seeing a show or performance firsthand and also the frustration of having it ruined by technology. Sure, go ahead and take pictures beforehand and afterward, but when you’re in the show’s venue you shouldn’t need to capture any of those moments. I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve gone to see a show and have been constantly annoyed by the light shining from someone’s cell phone as they take a picture or video of the performance. In my opinion if it’s something that you want to capture so badly that you MUST take out your phone, video camera, or just a normal camera then you should have enough drive to stand up and walk to the back of the room where you won’t disturb anyone.

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