The “in real life” fetish

Image from Flickr user Strellevik

Image from Flickr user Strellevik

If I didn’t Instagram it, did it really happen?

I’ve been reading a lot of Nathan Jurgenson’s posts the past couple weeks and this line really made me think.

While eating, defecating, or resting in our beds, we are rubbing on our glowing rectangles, seemingly lost within the infostream.

via The IRL Fetish – The New Inquiry.

I think about my own attention span and realize that when I do have a few minutes of down time, I choose to reach for my device and see what my friends and followers are doing. I’m hoping that they are all doing something interesting or at least have the creative ability to make the pedestrian seem poignant.

I often seek to fit into that “try to be interesting” crowd. I was fortunate to be able to spend the last 3+ weeks in Ireland and Norway on a family trip. Every venue I went to (beaches, rock formations, museums, restaurants, taverns, galleries) I was sure to take a photo and then carefully apply the appropriate digital filter to make the image interesting to those who would view it. Had this trip occurred 20 years ago and I was taking photos, I would have likely thought only about the memories I wanted to capture for myself. While the photos I currently take are great artifacts that document the experience I had with my wife and children, I too often find myself thinking about how many likes or shares I might get for these photos. I do enjoy looking at IRL scenarios with the eye of an artist, but am I doing it for contributing beauty to the world or just to feed my own ego by ticking up my Klout score? I’d like to think the former, but can’t argue persuasively against the latter. I enjoy the creative mental processes of finding an interesting subject to photograph, but it’s a fine line between that and simply participating in the “look at me” culture.

One thought on “The “in real life” fetish

  1. Hey Curt, interesting post. For my part, the connections that I have made with folks like yourself, and the ability to share moments and events with them, is what drives me. Being able to follow your trip, to see the various places that you and your family visited, and also I must say, the occasional beverage photo, was nice.

    By watching how my mom uses her iPad and Facebook, I know that when I share an image from my school day, or one of my kids or granddaughter, it brightens her day. She enjoys seeing what the various members of her family are up to. For me, that alone is reason enough to share.

    I agree, it is a fine line, but please continue to share.

    One more thing. One Saturday a few weeks back while you were in Ireland, you posted an image of a certain beer you were enjoying. I think it was Galway something or other. I saw your picture while out for a walk, and was near Belmont Station, a place that boasts it sells over 1200 beers. I stopped in to see if they had it, unfortunately they did not, but if they did, I had planned to buy one and drink it in your honor, and of course send you a photo of the beer. 🙂

    Welcome back.

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