Friday, 26 March 2010

Friday Peeve: The Black Elephant in the Room

Thanks to Guy #1 and Guy #2, you get this post. It's not a discourse, just an observation but stay tuned when we will have an awesome guest post from one of these gentlemen (you will just have to wait to see which one) about this phenomenon.

So last night I had the privilege at being at a very swanky function (which I almost never made it to but that story is from my lips to God's ears). Decor was gorgeous. Food, fantastic. The general ambience was amazing. Beautiful people, beautiful setting. Great performances. Great friends. Great moments. Except...

For the guy in front of me with the Blackberry who insisted on snapping everything that moved and those things that did  not move as well. I mean....REALLY???

And Lord help me, I was really close to taking out my own Blackberry and taking a photo of how stupid he looked but it seemed too stupid to even be ironic.

As with most of these types of events, the onus was on mingling and networking, in addition to being sold the creativity of talented people. So I would have expected this dude, like others, to be meeting people, commenting on how amazing the place looked, perhaps exchanging business cards, making some contacts. Nope. His aim in life was to take photos with this phone of his. It was as though noone else in the room existed unless you were the subject of the photo. What was most annoying was when the performance started and by this time, people had started to get loose and were having fun and shaking a little rump. Not my buddy, BlackBerry Avenger. He was snapping away. When his hand and his 6th finger aka the BB blocked my view of the great performance in front of me, that's when it became extremely personal.

I mean...why? I know I touched on this earlier this week - this phenomenon with technology, to the point that we lose sight of the things happening around us - but this guy was the poster child. He even took photos of the REAL photographers doing REAL photography. I am sure today his friends have in their Facebook feeds "Jack's night out - 100 new photos".


I would hate to be a boss who sends my people to an event to network and instead of doing that they get lost in their BBs and miss the big picture. And there it is - missing the bigger picture. Relationships are under threat if these people attached to their smartphones are set to take over the world. Be it personal relationships - because the Avenger came with a significant other, who was forced to dance alone - or professional relationships. So while the technology strengthen social networks, it seems to, in some cases, adversely impact and denigrate relationships.

I also have a problem with the intrusiveness of camera phones. I  once caught a weird, pervy man trying to take a photo of me with his phone. He insisted he was not, that he was sending a text but one does not normally hold a phone like this...

to send a text message, do you?  He needed to read this.

It seems many people do not realise that their actions, besides being acutely annoying, also often can leave them on the periphery of human interaction. And while photography is an art I admire and wish I were more passionate about, it is now being cannibalised by people like BB Avenger. Mobile phone photography is not always, but can become a menace depending on the person yielding the weapon of choice - be it Blackberry, iPhone, Nokia etc. And while you may share a deep initmacy and a strong, unbreakable bond with your device, it should not affect my enjoyment or impact on my comfort level. This is an awesome statement that describes the beast:

"Public places are commonly “colonized” by the private lives of mobile individuals"

I will further revise and say "public places are being terrorised by mobile individuals". And while mobile technology has brought communications to a state of "anywhere, anytime", please, let's not take it that literally. It should NOT be anywhere everytime. I think we all have a personal responsibility when it comes to mobile phones and the accompanying tools. Let's use discretion and let's take a load off and get a grip when it comes to brandishing these devices in the public domain where other people are trying to have fun. Silly us for wanting that.


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