I confess. I’m a closet taker of selfies.
I’ve been doing it now for three years.
It all started in a remote narrow canyon in Death Valley. My digital camera had stopped working and I was forced to use my smartphone as a camera for the first time. I was probably the only person in 2013 with a smartphone that used it solely for talking, voicemail and checking my email. I wasn’t even texting then.
I actually figured how to use the camera function in less than 15 minutes. Still I was stumped. What I wanted a photo of was an impressive 30-foot dry fall that had blocked my advancement and a shorter 10-foot one that I had somehow scaled in order to get to where I was at. But a mere picture would give it no perspective. So I spent another 30 minutes or so tinkering with the phone trying to get my head in the photo, the dry fall and the wall of the canyon to give it perspective. I did not realize at the time that the iPhone had a selfie program that — with a mere touch of a screen icon — it would take all of the guess work out of composing a selfie.
Since then I have made it a point to shoot selfies when either I summit a mountain or scale a dry fall. That’s the absolute extent of my selfies. I also only take them when I’m by myself.
All of the photos — selfies and otherwise that I have taken since then— are stored in my iPhone that still has 5.9 gigabytes of storage left. I do not have a Facebook page.
It is safe to say I won’t be using Periscope any time soon.
I didn’t even realize the app existed until Saturday as I was coming back from a hike up Snow Creek in Tenaya Canyon in Yosemite. As I neared Mirror Lake there was a teen blocking the path using his smartphone equipped with what I later was told was a Periscope app broadcasting his trip to Yosemite to his followers who responded to his notification that he was “live.”
Ever since Eastman Kodak made photo taking something everyone could do, people have taken photos while on vacation.
There was a time when you couldn’t share vacation shots with friends or relative until after you had returned home, sent the film or 8 mm film off to be processed and got it back.
Today’s its old school to snap photos during vacation with your smartphone and then post them immediately to Facebook and Instagram or else send them by email or text. Now you can broadcast live to your followers as you get away from the rat race.
It kind of makes you pine for the days when it was a major production to take a photo as it involved lugging around a heavy and bulky camera that burned an image on an 8-by-10 glass plate.
Are we becoming so vain that we think the world does indeed revolve around us? That’s what notifying “followers” that you are about to broadcast live so they can tune in to see you on vacation or — as some Periscope users have done — to provide them with a “live” tour of your refrigerator or to watch you “live” as you sleep.
Honestly, it doesn’t bother me although I can’t understand why you’d want to waste experiencing places like Yosemite by spending the bulk of your time feeding social media including with live broadcasts
It’s a lot better than some moron launching a drone in Yosemite so they can get aerial photos destroying the experience for everyone else as well as spooking wildlife such as peregrine falcons nesting on cliff walls. It is why all drones are banned in Yosemite as well as at all other national parks.
The teen with the Periscope app loaded on his smartphone explained to me what he was doing. He said it was his first trip to Yosemite — he was from San Jose — and that he wanted to share it with his friends plus he was having the app save it for his own enjoyment.
I get that. But it seems like you’d be able to absorb more memories by spending more time doing instead of recording images.
I do take my share of photos with my iPhone on hikes. (It’s a great excuse to take a break on a steep path.)
But the most important memories I record are etched in my brain. They’re also a lot quicker to retrieve as I don’t have to go rifling through an iCloud account in search of “Yosemite: May 16, 2015” among tens of thousands of other stored images.
Society as a whole, thanks to number of social media options and digital/video apps on the market is becoming more attune to recording than experiencing.
It’s sad in a way as an entire generation seems to be into recording life instead of living life.
As I continued to take my way back to the parking lot by Curry Village Saturday I couldn’t help but wonder whether the teen would have been bummed knowing that a doe had passed 50 feet away as I came upon him in the middle of his live broadcast and he didn’t get a chance to see it. I’m sure he didn’t see it given the running commentary I heard him making as he was using his smartphone’s selfie function never made any mention of the deer.
All is not lost. Maybe someone else caught a photo of the deer and uploaded it to their Facebook page so he can see it when he accesses the Internet.
It’s easy to miss out on life firsthand when you make being connected by social media your top priority.