There is a little bookshelf under the window in the dormer of my childhood bedroom at my parent’s house. On the bottom shelf, hidden behind some old issues of National Geographic and I large microscope, is a small photo album. My grandmother gave me that album close to fifteen years ago and it’s filled with images of trips we took together.
My grandparents took me on day trips every summer growing up. Sometimes it was to museums and another time it was a train ride. I remember a lot of these trips like they were yesterday.
I can’t remember exact year, but when I was in second or third grade, they took me to the Statue of Liberty. It would be hard for me to pick a favorite trip with my grandparents but if I had to pick one, that year’s trip would be close to the top. I remember brief moments from the day: riding the ferry to Ellis Island, walking up step after step inside the base of Lady Liberty, and my grandfather holding me up over the railing so I could look out over the entire island. I remember eating New York hot dogs on the bay, and I remember my grandmother taking this photo. It’s a photo of me, in a Don’t Mess With Texas shirt, standing in front of the New York skyline. Standing in front of the Twin Towers.
“If I were living in NYC in the ’50s, I’d be a modernist painter, in the ’60s I would have been a documentary filmmaker, in the ’70s I would have been in a punk band, in the ’80s I would have made music videos. Today it’s all about having a social-media presence…and that’s just lame.”
—Richard Blakeley, editor-in-cheif of Gawker.TV, as quoted in “Is Social Media Bad for NYC?”
I think the questions posed here can be applied to anyone living anywhere, not just New York City. The question is: is our obsession with tweeting, status updates, TwitPics, Gowalla-ing, etc. preventing us from actually experiencing life? Again, I think it’s too early to answer these sorts of questions but it’s something we seriously need to be asking. I do think, however, that Kevin Balktick, an art-events producer, has the right idea:
I get a hard time about not being on Facebook, but my reputation doesn’t come from virtual social networking, it comes from the actual time I have spent with people and the personal experiences I create for others to enjoy.”
As a side note, I think what’s more interesting is the narcissism that comes with it all. Like the article states, these platforms allow us to be the star of our own story and we expect people to be paying attention.