Taking photographs is fun for me, and I think I’m getting better at it. Most of the time, however, I don’t work at it very diligently. These days it’s mostly an “Oh look at that – I should get a picture!” What I’d really love to learn is videography. (I keep thinking about getting a video card for my camera. I really should.) I have a couple ideas in mind for videos I want to make.
Right now, the one I really want to make would be in response to the one floating around Facebook with the clickbait title “If this doesn’t make you put down your phone, nothing will.” I don’t want to link to it because it annoyed me. Yes, yes – the bait worked and I clicked. It was one of those video poems with a guy rapping about how focusing on your phone means you’ll lose your friends. It shows a person looking at their phone while sitting with three others, then the other three disappear and the person is alone.
So sad, right?
There are lots of memes and rants on this subject. There’s another floating around of a group of teens all looking at their phones while walking down the street with the caption “the real zombie apocalypse.” Or people snap pics of a group in a bar, all looking at their phones and bitch about how social interaction is disappearing.
The thing is, this is a self centered view.
It’s all people outside looking in. Of course those teenagers look like they’re zombies from the outside – because their focus is elsewhere. That doesn’t mean they’re not interacting socially. In fact, I’d argue that their social circles are wider, more complex and varied than ever before.
This is what my video would show.
A group of people is sitting in the bar. They pick up their phones and send out messages. One tweets a photo of the group. Another texts that photo to an absent friend. Two others post to Facebook a funny bit of the conversation. As people reply, they appear at the table. People from The Netherlands, from Malaysia, from Antarctica. The friend too sick to leave home appears, joining the group. As people comment and reply, they manifest. The table becomes crowded with everyone, tens, hundreds, even thousands of times bigger than it appeared to the observer.
That group of teens walking down the street looking at their phones? They’re a mob of talking, laughing, highly engaged people from around the globe.
That family looking at their phones? One is texting her mother that grandma just mentioned an old quilt she used to love and maybe something like that would be a good birthday present, while another is sending a photo of grandma to their cousin in Germany.
People looking from the outside in have no idea what’s going on. Less judging, please.
Kind of a good credo, all around.