Monday, January 6, 2014

Manic Monday: Life Through the Lens of a Smart Phone and Facebook Feed

Day of the Dead Procession
Tucson, Arizona
Every year, people of my hometown of Tucson, Arizona gather for a strange, wonderful, event unique to the area. It's the Day of the Dead Procession. Thousands of people don skull makeup and elaborate costumes and march in a non-motorized procession in honor of dead ancestors. The procession culminates in the lighting of a giant cauldron hanging in the air, filled with prayers and letters to the dead.

Day of the Dead Procession
Prayers Take Flight to Heaven in the Smoke of the Fire

My daughter & her friend
All Soul's Day, 2013
The stage is filled with amazing dancers and mariachi. Drums pound as acrobats climb high and light the cauldron. It's colorful and loud yet thoughtful and somber all at the same time.

At the most recent Day of the Dead Procession, I was struck by the odd way in which our culture has become glued to our devices. As I stood in a sea of thousands, I observed how very few of the people at the event were in fact present and in the moment. Virtually everyone had their smart phone out, held up in the air and set to record. Instead of actually watching the event firsthand, people were instead watching the event through a four inch screen.

A few days after the event, I came across this article about a person quitting Facebook and how it impacted her life. It has me asking this question: By plugging in, are we missing out?

Here's the article:

And here's a video that I came across that I just love. It seems to capture exactly what I experienced at the Day of the Dead Procession.

What do you think? Are we missing out when we're trying to record all of our life's events with our hand held computers? Or are our experiences made richer by our tiny screens? Does Facebook give us richer, more full relationships? Or has Facebook (and other social media) given us a false sense of connection?

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