Creating Memories or a Meaningless Obsession?

I enjoy digital media like every other person and this new revolution of social media has filled me with awe. Social media has increased connectivity and helped overcome space-time barriers across the world for billions of people. But along with this great achievement it has brought about the concept of a picture-perfect virtual image. Or in other words, a lot of photo-shopped images where each individual looks almost the same, i.e., perfect.

For quite a while now documenting your online life with multiple images has become a craze among people using aps like Instagram, Snapchat, etc. And as means to this end, people go out more to take “selfies” and “groupies” than to have fun with friends or enjoy themselves. Rather their enjoyment mainly consists of taking pictures irrespective of the place and people. And hence a substantial amount of time of the otherwise enjoyable meeting goes into taking “profile pictures” of each and every individual in the group against the same background, and regrettably with the same posture.

Conversations become less or mostly meaningless, scenic beauty is only perceived through the lenses of a camera, and the ones that cannot be captured, get forgotten pretty quickly. People are conscious all the time whether they are looking beautiful or not cause the possibility of a snap is always on the horizon. I have seen individuals go to the extent of choosing air-conditioned indoor spots for getting together just so that they can look spectacular in the “selfies” of the event, which will be photo-shopped nevertheless. Outdoor excursion or windy places have become a haven mostly for “adventurous people”, by which I mean the little population who still care about the experience more than the photographs.

Time and again people have the same pose or stance in every picture, the same pout for girls and the same semi-spiked hair for guys (done in a hurry for the snap), because they think that particular stance or style makes them look the best in the pictures. These photographs no longer ring with the natural laughter that they are supposed to capture, the funny moments which are just unique to that time and place, they no longer create the undistorted memories that pictures were meant to capture. These pictures are in all sense …fake.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to take photographs too. But for me pictures are still a means to create embarrassing, funny and beautiful recollections, with people who matter to me. And frankly, I don’t want most of these pictures, if at all, to be put up on any social media platform, because again these are my private moments, my laughter, my sadness, my vulnerabilities captured for my close ones to see and not the whole world. Further I would prefer to go to new, exotic places and have new experiences before I plan to freeze a moment in a snapshot. Dressing up to go to the latest mall or restaurant in town and taking a lot of pictures with other well-dressed people should not be the idea of creating memories. But sadly this has become an obsession for most people.

It fills me with regret to think about the amount of time that is further spent in sorting through these multitude of pictures taken with the aim to get that one perfect snap. We spent substantial effort and time to modify each of these photos, to scrutinize our flaws in different images and reject our own reflection numerous times a day for some minor cause or the other. In the course of this process, we not only feed our narcissism but also chip at our self-confidence by repeatedly reminding ourselves of our physical deficiencies, be it a little chubbiness or a certain angle of one’s nose which is not so flattering. We carry around this perfect image of ourselves in our minds and obsess over it relentlessly and most of the times without a positive consequence.

Is this end really worthy to our means? ….