09 Sep 2010
By Ingrid Schroder

Snap happy: missing out or maximising the moment?


Any avid-gig goer would’ve noticed a shift in concert crowd behavior in recent years. Gone is the sight of lighters held aloft to the music, for the sea of tiny, swaying flames has been replaced by an ocean of small, glowing squares from mobile phones and digital cameras – capturing every minute of the show.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the odd snap of my favourite artists smashing it out on stage, and fewer cigarette lighters is probably a good sign more people are kicking the habit. However, we seem to have taken up a different addiction of viewing virtually entire concerts through a 2.3” screen, and it makes me wonder – are we depriving ourselves from truly experiencing the present moment in our attempts to capture now and experience later?

So, you’ve been looking forward to this night for months. You’ve paid good dough to go to the show. You want to get your money’s worth and if that means waving a little screen in the face of everyone standing around you for the majority of the night, well that’s a small price to pay to make it last FA-EVA! Right?

Wrong! Not only are you likely to get a shoe thrown at your head for being such a pain, but you’re missing the point of being at a live gig in the first place: to experience the music, to dance like a maniac, and to be in the presence of the artists you love so much. By all means get a memento or two, but when you’re too busy snapping away to sing along, well, you might have a problem.

So what’s with our obsession with pixilated pix and video clips? Is it because we’re having such an amazing time that we want to snatch it up to savour it forever? Is it because we’re too inebriated and won’t remember the awesome time we’re having without a keepsake? Perhaps it’s a bit of both, but I suspect it’s mostly because we love to show off on social media.

Besides the usual channels of Facebook, twitter, YouTube and Flickr, many music specific communities such as Last.FM, FasterLouder and Your MTV have extended their sites to enable uploading direct from your mobile. Here you can brag connect with others who also attended the event and see their images and videos similar to your own, but from slightly different angles.

I think it’s actually a great thing that sharing is going through the roof and I’m a big believer in spreading the love and bringing perfect strangers together – but isn’t that the point of actually being at the concert in the first place?

snap happy photos - Ingrid Schroder

What do you think? screen-living or living in the moment?


Posts: 1


  1. Larry Sixsmith (Telstra Staff) says:

    Ingrid, great blog. You are right about the ever growing screens in the audience. I must admit I’m a bit of a concert tart. I go to as many as I can, even if I’m not a fan. Many a time I have felt it a privilege to be seeing the music being created by the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Kylie, Whitney Housten and even Lady Ga Ga to name a few. They were amazing and yes I did take a few snaps. However there is NO WAY I’m going to watch a performer through a screen. Music is so easily aquired these days that I think people forget it has to be created. To the youth of today I wonder if music actually exists. Its all data and not physical as it used to be. Hey great segway to my next blog about music. Stay tuned.

  2. Jane McConnell (Telstra employee) says:

    Hi Ingrid, I couldn’t agree more -- there’s nothing like experiencing live music in the format it was intended -- live!

    The electricity in the air that’s created by thousands of fans, screaming in unison, in a shared appreciation of their favourite artist… feeling the pulse of the base…

    Hmmm that’s a definite no from me -- a recorded version from a mobile phone does not compare.

  3. Richard says:

    Bragging rights in social media seems to outweigh the excitement of actually being there for the junkies of the techno age. However, give me a “small glowing square from a mobile/camera” anytime. Infinitely more preferable to lighters, which have a tendency to ignite unsuspecting groovers’ hair?

  4. Thanks Larry! Live music certainly is a privilege, who’d want to waste it?! Looking forward to your upcoming blog.

    hi Jane! you’ve got the right idea girl, we should go to a gig together someday :)

    Richard -- Happy to hear you’re no longer setting light the hair of fellow crowd members.


  5. Jehad (Telstra employee) says:

    When I first bought my digital camera, I would record almost every set from my favourite artists on stage and realised that I’m compromising my experience. Now I put the camera away and soak up the act entirly rather than watch the whole thing on a little LCD screen -- I occasionally whip it out for a snap or two to prove I was there though.

  6. I really enjoy to read this awesome blog post.

Leave a Comment

Heads up! You are attempting to upload an invalid image. If saved, this image will not display with your comment.