On Twitter and The Moment.

Random

My husband sent me a link to an interesting opinion piece in the New York Times, written in 2010, about Twitter and how it affects us and the way we interact with the world around us. There were many questions raised in the article. Raf was interested in the idea that Twitter, Facebook, and other social media encourages the commodification of self. My reading of the article touched on some thoughts I have had recently about social media: this idea that it takes us out of the present moment and causes us to experience that moment differently.

Orenstein makes an interesting observation that would seem to indicate that the act of tweeting a moment makes it clearer:

Distilling my personality provided surprising focus, making me feel stripped to my essence. It forced me, for instance, to pinpoint the dominant feeling as I sat outside with my daughter listening to E.B. White. Was it my joy at being a mother? Nostalgia for my own childhood summers? The pleasures of listening to the author’s quirky, underinflected voice? Each put a different spin on the occasion, of who I was within it.

However, she goes on to question that this distillation was less about her observation of the moment and more about how she wants others to react to her moment. Interesting thought. Do we  build a facade with each tweet or Facebook status update? I think we do. Some of us more than others. And we all build that facade in different ways. For example, I get a little bit irritated by my friends who post a laundry list of all of the fabulous things they did that weekend. Because of this I try to “be more authentic” in my updates by posting both the good and the bad. But I am just as guilty as anyone else because my carefully constructed facade is about me “wanting to appear more authentic” than those who want to “appear to have fabulous lives.”

Then there is this idea that social media takes us out of the present moment. It has been something I have thought about  a lot. The other day I was scanning my Instagram feed and saw a photo that a friend took of lunch out with a group of girlfriends. Two of her friends had their eyes glued to their smart phones. It made me think about myself and how often I do that very thing when I am hanging out with my own friends or my husband. Looking at this photo made me realize how this act of checking our phones to see what is happening on a website is kind of ridiculous. There is a person, a flesh and blood person,  standing in front of me, interacting with me and I am looking at a machine so that I can connect with other people who are elsewhere.

This is not to say that the friends I have made online are very important to me and the time that I spend interacting with them online is important to me, as well. I have had some of my favorite moments interacting with my friends online. Everyday I am amazed at the the world we live in and that I can have these interactions with people from all over the world. It’s pretty fantastic and great.

However, there has to be some kind of balance. I shouldn’t sacrifice the moments I have with those in front of me for moments I have with my friends online.

Exhausted museum vistors When I went to Paris I couldn’t figure out how to make my phone work overseas. It was very frustrating because this meant my GPS didn’t work either. We spent a few moments wandering the streets not really knowing where we were going (we found an old-school street map as soon as we could). In the end, however, I am very glad I was cut off from social media there, at least during the day (we had wi-fi access at our hotel). I was prevented from tweeting every single thought in my head. Instead I was riveted to every moment I experienced there. This was a new and faraway place and I am not sure I will ever be able to go back. I knew this while I was there and so I made the most out of all of it. Everything I did there was totally in the moment. I experienced the crap out of Paris. I remember everything with clarity. If my smart phone was working and tempting me to tweet these moments, would I still have this same clarity? I don’t think I would.

Drum Circles, and other random thoughts

Random
My last Instagram photo. :cue taps:

My last Instagram photo. :cue taps:

Last night I went to a solstice celebration.  We arranged ourselves in a circle and one by one we walked up to an altar and lit a  candle. Then we took a percussion instrument from a basket and went back to our seat where we joined the drumming started by Susie, the officiator. The room progressively got lighter and lighter as each candle was lit. It also got louder and louder as each person began drumming. It was amazing and so fun. As we were drumming I thought about what I wanted for the coming year. What are the desires of my heart? Photography instantly popped up, as it usually does. I also want to delve deeper into the Dharma. I also thought about how I want to experience more love and light. I feel like the world needs more of it lately. These are the things I thought about as I was clacking my two sticks together. It felt good. It felt good to get in touch with that part of myself that can keep a beat. It is primal. You don’t think. You just do.

Instagram. I decided to quit Instagram, like many others. You probably already know what happened. They made it clear in their TOS that they would use our photos in advertisements. Facebook currently does this and I hate it. It is sleazy. Frankly, I am fed up with it. I put up with Facebook because everyone I know is on it and I actually use it to communicate with people. But Instagram? No. I don’t care if the photos I have over there are crap, it still doesn’t change the fact that this practice is sleazy. Because of the backlash, Instagram changed their mind and I guess the new story now is that they are not going to use our photos? I guess? I don’t know and I don’t care because I am not going back. The fact is that I have been wanting to scale back a bit anyway. I use Flickr and I pay for the service so I will use it for all of my photo hosting needs. Plus, they have a fantastic new iPhone app (how excellent is their timing?!?).

I am also thinking about starting up my daily photography blog again. Maybe do a daily Hipstamatic post or something? I love playing around with iPhone photo apps and this seems like a good place to post these photos. I have a nerdy plan for this that is mind-blowing. Have you heard of IFTTT? It is the best website ever. I created a recipe that will post a new photo post when I upoad and tag a Flickr photo. I used it for yesterday’s Wayback Wednesday post. I am going to use this to post images to my photoblog from Flickr so that I only have to upload to one service. I am in nerd heaven right now.

New cameras are the best

Photography

I got a new camera!! And it was FREE!! It was very generously given to me by a friend on Twitter. I asked my online friends on both Facebook and Twitter what film camera I should buy. The weirdest thing is that I was literally looking at Cannon AE-1s online and almost talked myself into buying one when my friend sent the tweet, offering his old camera. He put it in the mail a week later and I got it on the day before Thanksgiving. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it came with two lenses!

I am going to buy a battery and jump in! I can’t wait to play with it!

Tell us about a moment when your life was changed in a split second

Life, Photography

The Daily Post asks us to do this:

 For this week’s writing challenge: tell us about a moment when your life was changed in a split second. The good, the bad, the funny, and the thought-provoking, our lives are composed of a series of meaningful events that help to shape who we are. Every now and then, we get a wake-up call where a snap decision or revelation changes our perspective completely.

Again, this is very timely for me since it is “that” time of year. The sad time of year. Thanksgiving will always be that way for me, I’m afraid. It does get a little better with each year though. Last night I was able to talk about Pea Salad without bursting into tears.

I thought about a particular moment this past weekend. I thought about the moment my mom called to tell me that Doug was dying. It felt like the bottom dropped out and I was so afraid of what I was about to face. But that moment isn’t the one that changed my life forever.  The moment that changed me was the moment that he took his last breath.  I will never forget that moment because it completely changed me forever.

It was a very profound moment. It was the moment I realized that death is part of life, and that life is tenuous.

I am so. stoked.

Photography

20120511-155711.jpg

I have nothing to rant about today. But here is an Instagram photo of my new camera that came in the mail today and that I am dying (DYING) to get my hands on when I get home from work. At lunch I had a chance to take a look at it. It appears to be in great shape. I have no idea in the world how to work it. I was surprised to flip up the top and see the image reflected on the reflector thing, all camera-lucida-like.

I found this web page that I plan on studying (note to self).

Here’s to new adventures!!