Thoughts On Living A Life Less Posted
The other day I was checking out Hacker News and I was struck by this post that was titled A Life Less Posted. In the post the author Rian Van Der Merwe hits on some interesting points about the feelings and emotions that happen when vicariously looking at people’s lives through Facebook and other social networks. This is something that I’ve thought about a lot, I agree with many points that he brings up and I like the way he has related it to his own life and experiences.
First, he talks about the feelings that he went through while following some of his friends Euro-trip through Instagram and Facebook:
Last month several of my friends were in Europe on vacation. I know this because I followed their every move on Instagram and Facebook. Sometimes their photos reminded me of places we went on our trip. Sometimes I was jealous. Sometimes I just thought, wow, that’s pretty.
I don’t think that he’s the only one who feels this way while scrolling through newsfeeds, although he’s one of the first I’ve seen to publicly admit it. He went on to talk about how he’s happy that he didn’t have social networks and an always-on mindset when he and his wife went on their own trek through Europe.
In a sense I’m glad we did our big Europe trip before social networks existed. 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.
I love when he says that he shared it with no one else and that the wine they were drinking was theirs and that’s it. They were in the moment, they were the only ones who mattered and they weren’t worried about Instagramming the moment for the rest of the world to see. They own that moment and unless someone comes by their house and takes a look at a photo album they’re not going to share it. I know this is sounding like I’m some old, grumpy man telling kids to get off his lawn, but to me there’s something refreshingly romantic about that.
Of course, the ironic thing is that unless you see this post’s link on Facebook or Twitter you would never know it existed. Ah, the irony. Thanks for reading and let me know your thoughts in the comments if you have any.