The other evening the HLDW* and I attended the Dave Matthews Band concert at Philips Arena in Atlanta. The wife is a big fan and we try to see the show whenever they are in town. Anyway, this isn't a review of the show, rather, it is about something I noticed while watching the crowd. Are we, as a society, completely incapable of just sitting and enjoying something without having to crank out immediate Facebook/Twitter updates every 30 seconds?
Hell, I was guilty of posting a Facebook update after we took our seats, prior to the show starting. Why the hell was it so important for me do so? Don't get me wrong, I'm very aware that I skew very far to the right on the bell curve of narcissism and understand that the world is curious as to how I spend my every waking moment (it goes with action hero fame and I bear the burden as only I can). But I still did it - and I'm not one for constantly updating. The HLDW was in a social media frenzy, of course, but she has 35 bazillion friends and that is expected by her peers.
I mentioned my observation/question to the HLDW and she mumbled a "mmhmm - hang on while I finish this post" and went back to her iPhone. I looked around and there were dozens of people clicking away. So, secure in my social media isolation as I vowed that my phone would not come out of my pocket until the concert was over, I continued to observe my fellow concert goers. People all around me clicking away on their phones or showing their pithy entries to the people next to them or asking to see their friends phones. I wanted to shout at the little bastards, "Put the fucking phones away and get busy doing what you are supposed to be doing at a concert; drinking too much, dancing like an idiot, getting the girls drunk, playing grab-ass when the lights go down, smoking some dope (Oh, yeah, can't do that anymore, thank you very fucking much you second hand smoke Nazis). JUST STOP AND BE IN THE MOMENT.
Oh, sure, all that stuff was kind of happening. Hell, I drank a double gin and tonic and pinched the HLDW once or twice myself. And, to be fair, there was a lot of youthful binge drinking exuberance and hippie white guy/gal dancing (we were at Dave Matthews) but in almost all cases the revelry would generally come to a stop so that they could UPDATE THEIR FACEBOOK FEED.
And yet, in spite of all of the scorn I was mentally heaping on the losers around me, I was torn. The uber-geek part of me told me to stop being such an old asshole and appreciate the coolness of being able to connect anytime, anywhere and being able to share experiences. I mean, I dread the day that the words "back in my day" comes out of my mouth.
What do you think? Have we lost something because of the intrusion of the "outside" into the shared experience of the event? Do we lose some of the experience when we shift focus to broadcast our impressions of the event rather than staying focused on the event itself?
In the interest of complete disclosure, my phone did not stay in my pocket for the rest of the night. It came out when the band left the stage for the first time and when, back in my day, we would have pulled out our much abused bic lighters to call for the encore. Instead, I held my phone high and activated the "Flick a Bic Concert Lighter" app that I downloaded earlier in the day.
It completely rocked.
Now I need to update Facebook and Twitter that there is a new Rhino post.
It is good to be the introspective Rhino.