Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Picture Perfect

Me, obviously no better than others clamoring for photos.  Chase, a social media kid in training.
The emergence of social media has made my life simultaneously better and worse.  In just a few minutes, I can touch base with friends and family -- interesting trips, recent accomplishments, and funny random quips.  Please don't guilt trip me with the "face-to-face is better" lecture.  I agree, but with two small children & working full time my choice is either never see anyone or take what I can get on facebook.  

One of the greatest perks is reconnecting with friends of the past.  A perfect example: My grade school best friend and I drifted apart after her family moved.  Most likely due to struggles over long distance conversation topics beyond the "I played with My Little Pony and Barbie today" from our first letters.  

Whoa, sorry.  I am probably getting ahead of myself here.  For the younger generation, a "letter" is the way people communicated in the old days.  We would take out paper and write words in long hand -- without using abbreviations -- with pencils or pens.  Pencils are...oh, nevermind...

Shockingly two 9 year-olds couldn't keep close from a long distance.  But with the existence of facebook (just a "few" years later), we can now share life events & updates without searching for a stamp.  Though with a new daughter in her life, I am guessing there may be talk of My Little Pony again in her future.

And while many have a similar reunion story, we most likely also share a similar struggle:  The photo obsession.  When experiencing a milestone or new adventure, instead of living in the moment, my first thought is often a variation of "how can we get someone to take our picture and how quickly can we get this photo online?"  

This was poignantly clear at my recent work event with Chicago Blackhawks player Patrick Sharp.  The event was to provide a small, select group time with the player and the cup.  Instead of networking with Sharp, it turned into a boring and stuffy photo line.  Hardly any words were spoken.  Guests walked up, handed their iPhone to a stranger, and prayed for a good photo to post seconds later.  It was sad to see people sacrifice what could have been a memorable experience to cyber brag.  By the photo above, I was obviously no different. 

Even my three year old was sucked into the photo trend.  He was crazed about meeting the mascot at a nearby baseball game.  Crazed.  The prospect of giving "Ozzie" a hug was all he talked about.  Nevermind that our son had not heard of or seen this animal until I innocently mentioned he was about to visit us.  Finally, an exhaustive 20 minutes (and 200 "Where's Ozzie?" questions) later, Ozzie entered the room.  After Chase watched the other children mob the furry cougar for photos, he wanted the same.  So as we scrambled for a picture, the hug was lost in the shuffle. 

I realize this comes across as an anti-photo campaign, which isn't my intention.  In no way do I inspire to be like my husband, who would have no photographic evidence of his life if not for me.     

Luckily, there is hope for our family.  Upon realizing Ozzie left without a hug, our son was distraught.  Fortunately, we tracked down Ozzie for a hug and "conversation."  Now our boy beams at his photo with Ozzie because of a great memory.  I just hope to have the same attitude in situations -- to  focus on the moment more than getting a picture perfect pose.

Speaking of facebook, another huge perk is the ability to "like" the Will Blog for Sleep page!
You're Welcome.