Bono U2 Seattle Picture

U2 in Seattle 2011–Get your phone out of my face

How often do we lose out on the present moment by trying to preserve it for later?  I think we often lose twice–we miss out on the present moment by trying to preserve it, and then the quality of what we preserved doesn’t turn out to be that great anyway.

I saw this at a U2 in concert last year.  Mitch Joel saw it at a Van Hallen concert.

Instead of the usual Zippo lighters raised fist-pumping high in the air, that flame was replaced by the glow of smartphones. Snapping pictures, capturing videos, texting friends, tweeting and updating our Facebook timelines. Instead of rocking out to ‘Running With The Devil’, the majority of people in the audience were recording, capturing and publishing the moment instead of soaking in the sweat of the rock n’ roll and raising a cold one with some friends.

General admission tickets got my wife and I closer to Bono and the stage than I ever dreamed of–no more than 30 yards away.  While I loved the concert and the experience of seeing U2 live, it was irritating to have multiple iPhones blocking my view.  I’m of average height and was amazingly close to the stage, and yet I couldn’t get a clear view most of the time.

I think the guy next to me recorded almost the entire show on his iPhone–but was he really there?  In my own experience of recording things with video I often find 50% of the moment is lost because my mind is focused on making sure I’m capturing it well.

I wonder how much the guy next to me missed out on the full experience because he was trying to preserve it for later?  I’d rather buy a professionally released version later and make the most of the moment.

Although, not completely connected to this topic, Mitch’s closing was insightful and articulate,

On one hand, we shrill when channels like Facebook make nuanced changes to their terms and service for fear that it will breach our privacy, but on the other hand we are constantly and willfully publishing our each and every move for the world to see in text, images, audio and video. It turns out that our virtual selves are just as confused and complicated as our physical selves.

Photo credit: Me