By Alaina Perdon
Elm Staff Writer
I admit to having chronic nostalgia. I stuff bills from first dates in my pockets and Google Photos is constantly notifying that my storage is nearly full. I desperately attempt to bring tangency to my memories in fear that they will otherwise be lost one day.
I do not believe this is a bad trait.
Thanks to our cameras and smartphones, we have the ability to capture more moments than ever before. The Tech Generation, those of us growing up in the digital age, is frequently under scrutiny by our elders for our heavy use of these resources. But is recording the happy moments of our lives a crime?
By storing our memories as pictures and videos, we build miniature museums of our own personal history. We create something that can be passed down to inspire our children, or that can remind us of some of the best moments of our lives.
Throughout my senior year of high school, I filmed a single second of every day and stitched the fragments together to create a snappy summary of my last year of true adolescence. Two years later, it still warms my heart to hear the laughs of the friends I so seldom see and to relive the times we shared.
The act of filming my “second of the day” was small and non-intrusive, an approach I try to take whenever capturing a moment. Becoming too absorbed in the recording takes away from the event at hand.
“During the Philadelphia Eagles parade in 2018, I was so excited to see the players, I thought ‘I should video this so I can keep it!’ but the problem was, I didn’t actually get to see them because I was trying to video them,” junior Will Rotsch said.
At times, the Millennial and Generation Z preoccupation with recording everything is a hindrance to their experience of the moment. Many of us have shared the frustration of standing behind someone at a concert who prefers to watch the performance through their Snapchat camera, interrupting us and missing the novelty of a live show.
“I want to go into film but if you look at my [personal] camera roll, it’s never full of pictures or videos. As much as a camera can be used to connect people, it can also be a barrier between the filmmakers and the experience” said Louis Grauso, television center employee and student at St. John’s University.
Pulling out a piece of technology and focusing on the screen removes us from the present, almost counterintuitive to our intentions of preserving the moment.
“I think taking video and pictures is valuable, but it needs to come secondary to the actual experience itself,” Rotsch said.
Documenting important moments is enriching to the person creating the memory, as well as those who may be enlightened by sharing the media. Grainy Polaroids of my grandparents showing off their first apartment with edges worn from decades of viewing prove just how important capturing even the smallest aspects of life can be.
They also serve to show that Millennials and Generation Z are not the first to take snapshots of moments that make them happy.
The span of recorded human history dates back 5,000 years. For centuries, people have tried to preserve ideas both for themselves and those to come.
So, why are the twentysomethings of the world now under attack?
“It seems like our generation is the one doing this most because we have the most access to it,” Rotsch said. “Also, technology and culture are advancing so quickly, there’s no time to get used to the changes.”
Yes, my grandparents’ closet is teeming with shoeboxes full of silly-faced selfies and blurry shots of their friends at parties — no different from the camera roll of my iPhone. They lacked the ability to disseminate their photos as rapidly as I can.
We can snap and share moments like never before, connecting us to each other and to our own pasts through the lens of our smartphones. The generations before us may scoff at our folly, but it is human nature to document our experiences. As long as we are able to keep a healthy balance between recording and living, the technology available to us provides an easy way to compile our personal history.
Maybe your Boomerangs of your scrambled eggs do not need to be posted on Instagram every day. But do stop to take a shot of a pretty sunset or film a few seconds of your mom singing in the car — you will be happy to have these memories preserved years from now.