A Life Less Posted

A nice bit of nostalgia to days without Facebook and Instagram from Rian van der Merwe, in his post “A Life Less Posted”:

We checked our email maybe once in every city — if we could find an Internet cafe. For the most part we were on our own. Just one couple amongst a sea of tourists. There was nothing different about the bottle of wine we had in that one Italian restaurant. Except that it was our bottle of wine, and we shared it just with each other. Not with anyone else. It was a whole month of secret moments in public, and we were just… there. We didn’t check in on Foursquare, we didn’t talk about it on Facebook, we didn’t post any photos anywhere. I now look back and appreciate the incredible freedom we had to live before we all got online and got this idea that the value of a moment is directly proportional to the number of likes it receives.

Guilt, anger, envy… Those are the emotions that fuel all social networks, but perhaps Facebook more than the others. They’re the emotions that make us share/like/comment on things. And then I thought about our Europe trip, and how much I long for that time before we became obligated to carry the burden of the thoughts, feelings, and opinions of every single person we’re connected to online. It’s what Frank Chimero once called “huffing the exhaust of other people’s digital lives.”

I’ve been reading more and more of posts aching in a similar fashion. Ted Nyman’s piece on packaged lives, for instance, was excellent.

2 thoughts on “A Life Less Posted

  1. I remember the days of not having social media sites and not being “obligated” to post where you would currently be. Rian makes a great point of, “I now look back and appreciate the incredible freedom we had to live before we all got online and got this idea that the value of a moment is directly proportional to the number of likes it receives.” I think it is better to experience moments with friends/family without feeling the need of “Oh man, I have to post on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/etc. to let everyone know what I’m doing right now!” I think we are linked to our social media accounts more than ever these days and some people might even take offense if you do not share your own experiences with them. It goes with the same notion of if we are friends on social media, I should be able to see what you are doing. So these people would rather talk via social media channels rather than on the phone. Strange times.

    • John — do you have thoughts on how people can break away from this vicious cycle of being tethered to post on social media sites versus engaging in person (or on the phone)?

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