On technology, engagements and the necessity of selfies

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A couple who I am acquainted with recently got engaged, and a video of the proposal was uploaded to Facebook. It was blurry, it was far away, and you couldn’t hear a single thing except for the heavy breathing and stifled fits of happy laughter from the person behind the camera. The existence of this video prompted me to dwell on the irony of our excess use of technology: we’ve come to believe we must record everything in our lives with these tools, but do we really need to? Is our obsession with preserving moments and images interfering with truly experiencing life ourselves? And how much of our drive to document is for nostalgia’s sake and how much of it comes from our desire to share it online to see how much attention it gets?

Although I honestly believe the endless amount of digital memories we’ll be able to show our children someday is amazing, there’s something to be said about the magic of storytelling and imagining. I’d rather sit my daughters down someday and tell them the story of how I was proposed to than show them fifty almost-identical shots of my reaction and a low-quality video taken by a hired roommate creeping in a bush. I’d rather have them create a glorious image in their respective minds of that moment, even if it’s completely off, because that memory will be their own. Something beautiful is lost in absolutes. Recording absolutely everything leaves little to the imagination, and the imagination is so important.

When I get engaged, I want to know my husband-to-be cares more about me and the very personal and special moment in which he asks me to be his forever than making sure he gets my reaction on camera for all of his “friends” to see. It will be just between the two of us — a moment that only we will experience. And it will be perfect for that very reason.

I just think that we could all do for a little bit of privacy in this overwhelmingly public world.

I sincerely hope I’m not the only one.

Camryn Alston
Springfield, Ore. 

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