Social Media vs Being Present

Those who follow me on Instagram (@csyoganutrition) will know my mantra last month, September, was “Be here now”. Going on a long-awaited holiday and starting back at uni this was an important month for me to truly be present. Enjoying the moment; not worrying too much about what’s coming up or what has already happened. I think I’ve done a pretty good job without even needing to constantly remind myself of this mantra. It’s been incredible the shift that’s happened; if I reflect back to even a year ago my mindset and ability to be present has completely changed.

In Bali, everywhere we went we saw people living life through their phones. I’m not sure whether it was noticeable more because it’s a very ‘Instagramable’ place or because I had my head out of my phone more than usual.

I have a very love/hate relationship with technology and social media. It has its benefits and it’s incredible how we can connect and share so much with so many people, but it’s also got so many cons. Drawbacks such as filtering the way we see the world and the value we place on ourselves, creating an environment for judgement and criticism, living through our screens and forgetting to be present.

One particular instance on my travels in which this was overwhelmingly obvious was when we went for a sunrise mountain hike up Mount Batur.

We arrived at the top of the mountain 15 minutes or so before sunrise. We settled ourselves down, wrapped up warm (it’s very chilly up high without the sun), snuggled close and looked out to where the sun was beginning to peek out over the horizon. It was such a magical moment that we were able to share with each other (me and my partner). We both took a couple of pictures to keep the memory of the experience but the pictures do not capture the true beauty of the moment we witnessed.

Whilst we were sat there shivering (seriously, it was that cold) enjoying the sunrise, another group of people arrived and set their stuff down in front of us. This group then proceeded to take photos for 45 minutes throughout the entire sunrise. The pictures were not of the sunrise but of themselves doing different poses – looking wistfully out over the horizon, jumping, smiling, holding out their hand so it looks like they’re holding the sun. Once one of them came up with a new pose they all wanted a picture of them doing it. Once they were done with their pictures they got their guide and started their decent again.

This wasn’t just one group, this was happening everywhere. There was a girl with a huge tripod set up and what I can only assume was her ‘Instagram boyfriend’ taking pics of the back of her looking out to the surroundings. I’m sure you’ve seen this picture thousands of times on Instagram. It’s not dissimilar to the picture at the header of this post (not taken for Insta but more to make a point to my boyfriend about getting in the way of my photo!) There was also a couple of drones up there which slightly ruined the ambience of the sunrise with the buzzing noise.

Anyway, I don’t have anything against taking pictures and selfies (I know it probably seems like I do but I genuinely don’t). There is nothing wrong with trying to capture a moment but my worry is that we spend so long taking pictures or thinking about how a moment will look to everyone online that we don’t actually experience the moment itself. There’s a time and a place and we can forget that sometimes.

I guess this is just a reminder to experience first and if you want to then take a picture then get your phone/camera out and do it but maybe don’t lead with that. If you’re just taking a picture for Instagram – Why? Who are you doing it for? Will is make your life richer? Will you be happier because of it? If it’s your job and it makes you happy go for it. If it’s not, maybe try to just be a little more present in the world. Enjoy experiences and don’t miss the sunrise.

This was just a few thoughts which were going around my head and I wanted to write down. What are your thoughts?

1 thought on “Social Media vs Being Present

  1. I agree with this wholeheartedly. I worked in a restaurant over the summer and was fascinated watching people come for a meal to sit in silence with each other, taking pictures of their food and cocktails and then leave in silence. To everyone watching their snap/insta stories i’m sure it will have looked like they had a great time. But in reality, like you say, they really hadn’t experienced anything at all.

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