Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Mediated Life

I went to the Grammys with my wife this Sunday. (we know someone who works for the Grammy foundation...thats how.)

One remarkable thing we noticed is that we were often the only people who were actually paying full attention to the performance. All around us people had their cell phones out and were texting, recording, snapping pictures and talking to friends. "OMG can u c me on TV?" has replaced "Oh my god, I can't believe I'm here."

At our wedding we had a friend do our photos and we didn't have a videographer. One of the things that bugs me is when a wedding is transformed from a joyous occasion into a photo shoot or movie of what a joyous occasion might look like if the photographer and videographer weren't ordering everyone around. For a long time the recording of an experience has threatened to obscure the experience.

With this new social mediated world the digital sharing of the experience threatens to obscure the experience.

You can spend your whole life interacting with people without ever touching them or doing anything.

Thanks for reading this. Now give me a call and lets meet for coffee...or come over and play some music or basketball or chess or chutes and ladders.

C U!


  1. John, I'm soooo with you on this! When my daughter had an event at school where she read a haiku with a picture she drew projected on the wall behind her, I wanted to capture the moment "on film" (digital these days, though that could be another post). So, I framed her in, etc. and couldn't focus on her performance of the haiku (not being a natural multi-tasker like most mothers).

    I was not fully present for the moment or the experience of the moment. I often don't bring the camera just for this reason. I also don't own a cell phone. And, if I could still my thoughts some more, I could really be properly present.

    As an Alaskan choosing to live a simpler life, it's refreshing to know that folks in LA can be having these same impressions of life!

    I wish I could meet you for coffee, instead of doing this virtually thousands of miles away!

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Well said John. The moment is being lost to the digital bits. Nothing more annoying these days than to be out with someone who is a crackBerry addict. Or iPhone. (Even though I own one, I make sure not to overuse it.)

    I love the Grammys and would be excited to be there as well. My wife and I went to the final American Idol showdown last year and it was awesome. I turned my phone off and never even looked at it.

    Wait, someone's texting me. Be right back...

  3. Amen, brother! If I lived in L.A., I'd be at your door to challenge you to a game of Scrabble. I think I'd be afraid to take you on in Chess. I have been thinking a lot about the exact thing you've written here. It becomes even more of an issue with teenage children as you watch them descend into wireless madness. My kids are desperate to get unlimited "texting". They often get quite bent out of shape that I refuse to enable this anti-social behavior that is completely out of control in the hands of hormone riddled middle schoolers. Next thing you know, they'll be teaching texting in school. Why bother with learning how to actually write letters with a pencil (bonus if you can actually spell and use punctuation properly). It seems to be spinning wildly out of control. Help! Keep on blogging, John. You're the best! Lili

  4. Thanks Lili,

    I have to say that I am terrible at chess.


    We should play sometime.

  5. I feel the same way. When I was in college I was hugely into photography. Sometime right after I graduated I realized the camera itself was a buffer between me and the world, so that I wasn't really participating fully. So I just stopped taking pictures. I don't even have a camera today. Sometimes I wish I had a few documents from certain events, but I'm more grateful to have no been burdened by it all of these years.