09 October 2013

Staying Connected

I realized this recently that people's social behavior nowadays is so different from say, ten years ago, when technology wasn't too advanced. Before, we never had smartphones with connections to the Internet, and therefore there was no such thing as taking a photo of one's food and then uploading it to the Internet for everyone else to see. Nowadays, our phone plans all have data connections, so all we have to do is take a picture and upload it for all of your friends.

I went to dinner with a big group of friends the other day. The funny thing is that once each of us had received our food which we ordered, we all took out our smartphones and snapped a photo of it. I have to say that I was guilty of this as well. I took out my phone and snapped a photo of my burger. I did wait until I got home to upload it.

I wonder why people do this. I wonder why we have this urge to show to the rest of the world what we just ate.

This is not just about food. This is also about other things. I have just recently concluded a trip to Georgia and Armenia, and I have been uploading my photos online in Facebook. I wonder, do we implicitly do this because if we don't announce to the world where we traveled to, or what we ate, it would become less real?

Funny I wonder about this, because to some degree, this question concerns this blog too. If I didn't write about my travels and my experiences in graduate school, would they become less real? Why do we always need external validation to our actions? Why is it that we always seem to have a desire to be known? Perhaps, because there's 7 billion people in this planet, we just want to get our 15 minutes of fame and leave a footprint before we depart this world and cease to exist. And by capturing food photos and posting it online before even taking a bite of it, then we increase our chances of getting noticed.


  1. I think social networking sites help fill our need for instant gratification. We love the attention *winks* . The blazing speed with which everything can get everyone's attention make it so appealing everyone just wants to do it. My golly, even my mother is on FB!

    My only gripe is how everyone having dinner on a table end up looking at their smartphones and making the gathering seem less social than it ought to be.

    1. TNP,

      I know exactly what you mean, and this whole having dinner with a group yet everyone is staring at their phones happened to me the other day, and it just felt weird somehow. It was like, what's the point? We might as well just be eating individually.

  2. This is why I'm not on FB. I'm afraid I'll get sucked into meaningless and pointless connections on a platform I have no control over. At least my blog is a good writing exercise.

    I used to snap pictures of my food too... and write reviews ;-)

    1. Zhu,

      Fair enough. I do think that FB gives me ways of keeping in touch with friends all over the world, which I couldn't do before, but at the same time, I see your point, where one can easily pretend that one is keeping in touch when in reality, they are simply watching these strangers' lives fleet by through their status updates, giving a false sense of closeness.