Scene: a pocket-sized park down a laneway in a trendy suburb
of Melbourne. The sun is warming me out of my coat, and I have a picnic rug, a
croissant, a latte, and pages of blank paper.
This is writing time. ME time. I contemplate my split ends
for a minute, the traffic a bare hum in the distance. What amoeba-like thought
shall I pluck from my brain and cultivate into a scribble?
Before I’ve even put pen to paper once, however, I’m reaching
for my phone, wanting to Instagram the juxtaposition of my coffee cup against
the very blankness of paper I’m trying to defeat. Or better yet, the dancing
shadows the grass is making as the wind trifles through it.
What exactly am I trying to capture? The sweetness in the
warmth of spring’s first sun? The tranquillity of being alone with my thoughts
mid-morning on a work day? Instagram can’t capture these details, and surely
I’m bastardising the tranquillity if I go and share it with a few hundred
I’m all for social media - I tweet, pin, book the face, ‘gram.
Probably later this afternoon I’m going to Google what Kik is, because it’s
apparently the ‘new thing’(actually, I
couldn’t wait. It looks like a new version of Whatsapp). Instagram encourages
me to keep my eye out for the sunshine streaming through a window, a piece of
graffiti under an eave, the secret shapes thrown by shadows and the edges of
buildings, and this is why I love it.
But how often have you been out with friends and suddenly
yelled, ‘Stop! Wait! Go back! You all looked so cute a second ago!’
Conversation is interrupted, empty glasses are held as though full, and
everyone reassembles themselves into what were natural poses a heartbeat ago.
Social media is amazing for capturing life and sharing it, but what happens
when we become too preoccupied in making life look pretty rather then being in
Do you ever find yourself marring a moment, in your haste to
reach for your social media tools? Interrupting the living of life to document
it? I haven’t managed to jot down these meagre few paragraphs without checking
Facebook (SERIOUSLY PEOPLE POST STUFF I’M SO BORED). Like I said, I love social
media, but at times it leaves me frustrated with myself – this need to perform
my life, to gain affirmation through likes, loves, shares, retweets. To be part
of the conversations going on all around me instead of taking the time to talk
to my own little thought amoebas.
I actually didn’t try to Instagram the grass. I turned my
phone off and sketched out this little ditty instead.