Digital Sharing

Digital sharing is the major foundation of social media and social networking sites (SNS). Social media and applications like Twitter and Facebook provide us with a platform for sharing the information and images we come across on a day-to-day basis.

Digital sharing has awakened and fed this inner desire we feel to share our everyday experiences online. Applications like FourSquare or the ‘check in’ feature of Facebook are evidence of this, where we feel the need to alert everyone to our movements and activities.

“The Pew Research Center states that Millennial’s (those who came of age in the new millennium — currently age 20-36) are the “always on generation” (McMahon 2014). This stems from our addiction to technology and constant interactions with it. Speaking from a personal experience, I know if I lose or am without my phone for any extended period of time, I feel as though I am missing a limb.

Social media has become an extension of our physical beings, particularly now that so much of the way we present ourselves is a result of our online profile. Even when I am out with friends, I find myself and everyone constantly checking their phones so regularly you’d be forgiven for thinking they were expecting a message from the Queen.

This problem is a common one for the Millennial generation, although it has provided the answer to one of the age-old problems – how to split the bill at dinner. It’s not uncommon to walk in to a restaurant today and see a pile of smart phones face down in a pile on the table, the idea being the first person to pick up and look at their phone has to pay the bill. And yes, it is a lot harder than it sounds.

smart-phones

So significant has our need to record and archive our experiences become, that people are living their lives through a lens and missing out the real experience. Take for example music concerts, the amount of mobile phones you see lighting up the dark as their owners record 30 seconds of Lorde or whoever singing is ridiculous. It takes away from the whole point of going to see an artist live, because you are experiencing the sounds and images through a lens, no different to a TV.

Despite the idea that audiences are missing out on experiences due to their distraction with the screen (and camera lens), it can be argued that by recording these memories -through image, video and sound- the highly sensory and presumably exciting nature of the moment they are experiencing, can be prolonged well into the future. This can be seen as a compromise between the quality and longevity of their experiences; while the quality of the moment is diminished by audiences not being fully immersed in the moment of action, the experiences being recorded can go on to surpass spacial and temporal boundaries otherwise constrained to that moment in time. Watching pre-recorded experiences, such as concerts, can often elicit memories almost as intense and thrilling as they were live. Digital sharing essentially allows for the multiplicity of these memories and experiences, which although compromised in their authenticity, are prolonged and disseminated for many others to also enjoy.

Adding to this, digital sharing allows many to experience these memories of the quality of their time in the present moment.

References:

  • McMahon, K., 2014, ‘Could we Disconnect for Just a Moment’, The Blog, Accessed: 27/10/14, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kyle-mcmahon/could-we-disconnect-for-just-a-moment_b_5709401.html
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