So while I was reading me emails I came across a story that was stating Instagram was ruining vacations because people were too obsessed with “nabbing the perfect photo”. The author of the article first pens a painful introspective of her own vacations and its profound impact on her but that because of capturing and sharing just a small digital slice of it reduces the experience in some way. Now I don’t know about the vast majority of people taking vacations are seeking inner peace or spiritual solitude but I seem baffled by the fact taking a foot selfie with the Grand Canyon as a back drop lessons the experience for either person taking the selfie or the friends that are seeing it on Instagram or any other social media outlet. Fact of the matter is the Grand Canyon has been around for WAY longer than social media and well guess what, most of us have heard of it. It’s beauty and grandeur not lost at all because of a wildly ugly pair of running shoes being the focal point in the middle of status update. If I wanted a pristine view of the Grand Canyon I will Google it or go there myself and enjoy one of the grandest places God has created in our country. Perhaps I’m misinterpreting things and the author has deep rooted fears that sensationalizing the Grand Canyon with selfies of your feet lessons it’s grandeur? Well I don’t think it does. So is it the idea that all we care about is just going and bragging about your expensive vacation and creating a foot selfie is all we really care about? That might in fact be true to some extent but then Instagram had nothing to do with this and it is just an inherent problem our modernized society is facing.
Perhaps it is just a fear of people getting hurt taking selfies? Well we have all read those fascinating articles including the one written by Mashable. It states more people die from taking selfies that by shark attacks. Pause for a moment and let that one sink in. Okay you good? That selfie death toll is 12. The shark death toll is 8. An entire article was written by a major media outlet because of 12 people dying while taking a selfie. While any death is tragic and should not be marginalized, I think the opposite is true here and we are sensationalizing stupidity in general and reasoning it is an epidemic caused by social media. In fact stupidity in general has been rampant for as long as we have been around and to satisfy this bold statement’s need for verification I bring you this idiot sticking a knife into a plugged in toaster!:
So here is the chicken and the egg question, did the idiot stick the knife into the toaster because of the iPhone recording it for social media or did the idiot want to just stick the knife into the toaster because he is an idiot? What came first the idiot or the iPhone?
I contend that these problems have always been around and that Instagram had nothing to do with them. No do we have a problem as a Society of being “too connected”? Absolutely. A good read on this can be found right here on Mobility Digest by our friend Dr. Jim Taylor. He writes: Psychology of Technology: Can You Disconnect from the ‘Matrix’? A very good read not unlike anything he has written and shared with us. But is Instagram ruining vacations? No it’s not. I think it shares the experience with all your family and friends disconnected from you because of distance and makes us feel, at least a little bit, more connected to the ones we love.