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Through the Looking Screen

 

tourists taking photos-XL

Our society has become so consumed by capturing everything with smart phones and cameras. But what is the motive to living this digital life? Why do people feel they must document every moment of it with a smart phone or camera? If you go into New York City over the weekend, it is not unusual to see tourists walking around with their camera phones, taking photos of everything they see. But what do they plan to do with their forty pictures of Time Square? I began to think about how seeing the world through a screen changes our personal experiences. Ultimately, what is the point of having these photos? My answer is Facebook.

It is interesting to think what photographs mean to people today. Zadie Smith’s “Generation Why?” essay discussed how individuals use Facebook as a way of projecting what they want others to see. Therefore, without Facebook would people still be inclined to take so many personal photographs? Many may say the primary reason they use Facebook is so they can connect with family members and loved ones. But is it really to connect with others, or is it to brag about who you hanging out with and what you are currently doing? I have been using Facebook for about six years now and it is interesting to see how people, myself included, change based on their age. When I was in my late teens many people primarily posted photos of themselves, but as I get older many of my friends now post photographs of recent vacations and even photos of their newborn children. Today I believe people are now living a portion of their life though their smart phone and computer screen. You could say it’s like maintaining a digital version of them self.

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