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Snap happy: missing out or maximising the moment?

Tech and Innovation

Posted on September 9, 2010

3 min read

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 Gone is the sight of lighters held aloft to the music, for the sea of tiny, swaying flames has been replaced by an ocean of small, glowing squares from mobile phones and digital cameras – capturing every minute of the show.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?