We go to concerts for the experience. We can listen to basically any artist we want on our phone nonstop and 24 hours a day. So, why is it that when we are in the presence of our favorite singer or band, we still have our phones in front of our faces, capturing what we could get anytime and ignoring the whole point of a live concert?
I recently attended a Khalid concert. It was general admission, so my goal for the night was to make it to the front row. Once I finally made my way there (a story for another time), I didn’t see hands in the air trying to touch Khalid’s; I saw iPhones in the air taking videos, posting Snapchat stories, posting Facebook live videos and even a few already editing their pictures so that they could post them. There we were, feet away from our favorite artist — someone whom we paid a decent amount of money to see live — and we’re on our phones. Khalid was not even 10 feet from a girl in the front row, and she was choosing a filter for her picture and probably contemplating a perfect caption.
I’ll admit, when I’m at a concert I’ll try to get at least a couple decent photos so that I can remember the night. However, trying to capture the entirety of a concert on a phone is a waste of everyone’s time. First and foremost, the person taking the video misses out on the live experience because the screen in front of their face is mediating the whole concert. At that point they might as well stay home and wait for everyone else’s videos to be posted on social media and watch from there.
Which leads me to part of the reason we are so obsessed with capturing every moment: so that all of our friends can see what we’re up to. Although, to be honest, I can’t say I know too many people who care to watch an hour’s worth of low quality videos of a concert they did not attend. If they did actually want to hear the music, there are plenty of sites that could provide that without crowd members’ off-pitch singing in the background and the guy’s head in front of you blocking part of the view.
We’re slowly starting to turn ‘in the moment’ experiences into a quick video or Snapchat so that all of our friends can see. This ruins our experiences because we are mediating what we see and do through the lens of our phone and more often than not portraying a skewed reality in order to impress our viewers.
Imagine a concert without any phones or cameras. You could completely enjoy the experience without any outside distractions. Videos and pictures can be a helpful way to remember and share an experience; however, they frequently lead us to ruin the moments we’re in.
Sam Miner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.