I have always been a sucker for collages. I would gleefully pore over my mom’s stack of magazines for just the right words and images to glue around pictures of me taken with disposable cameras. The collections of cut and pasted snapshots, witty captions and literal clip art gave me real insight into my younger selves.
These days, I use social media to the same end, with the benefit of significantly less time spent washing Mod Podge out of my jeans.
Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram help me collect my thoughts and feelings in an entirely new way. It’s not like I could print a video off my dad’s camcorder and add it to my collage. Plus, not only am I sharing my life with my friends and family, but also with my future self. I can pull out my phone and record any moment, forever. And I love that.
Last semester, I went to Eclipse on a Friday night for a milkshake and stumbled upon an amazing performance by Verge Bliss. Of course I pulled out my phone at the concert- a girl was playing the electric autoharp! I was enjoying the experience and I wanted to add it to my collage. I didn’t diminish the memory in any way by taking a short video- just enough to show people what was up. I don’t put such faith in the English language to think it could describe what was happening- that’s why I took my phone out and made a quick Instagram post. And I’m glad I did, because I got to introduce my friends to some new music and solidified the memory for myself.
When Dr. Michael Patton was asking around for someone to live tweet the Life Raft Debate in October, I jumped at the opportunity. I helped share the quick quips and silly tricks of the night with those unable to attend. Sites like Twitter also allow us to have far more massive shared experiences, and I enjoy participating in that. I was able to tweet back at people with questions about the event, an interaction that wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t had my phone out. I remember that night vividly, because I not only had a great time at the debate, but got to share it all on a large scale.
For me, my phone doesn’t take away from the experience- it adds to it. Its camera can capture moments in ways words can’t. Its connection to the internet lets me share my in-the-moment thoughts with the world. It’s nice to have the option to scroll through my better moments when I’m feeling low, and I look forward to reflecting on these days in the future. So, I’m sorry if it offends you when I pull out my phone to take a picture or update my status, but I’m working a collage here.
Just be glad I didn’t have to bring along a shoebox of magazine scraps.