College Life: Good memories about the experience, not the documentation

By Toni Pennello - [email protected] | December 30th, 2017 6:00 am

If you don’t post a picture of it on the internet, did you really do it?

Yes, of course you really did it. But the fact that you might not feel like you did seems like a problem.

I took a really nice trip to Philadelphia this weekend. I ate all of my favorite foods, and I went to the Legend of Zelda Symphony of the Goddesses (it was awesome). Really, it was one of the best days I’ve had this year.

And I didn’t post a single photo. I didn’t even take a single photo.

I haven’t had social media on my phone for about a month — you might call it a detox. So it made sense that I didn’t post any pictures.

What doesn’t make sense is that I felt weird about it. I can’t put my finger on why, but something about not waking up to a million notifications from people liking a picture of me standing in front of a ramen shop or something made me feel like the whole day didn’t happen.

I could be alone in feeling that way (and if I’m not, please let me know), but I think that’s an issue. You get used to things like having photos on your Instagram page depicting everything of note that you have done. It makes sense that we might have a hard time feeling like we did things without the concrete proof that we are used to.

We see it all the time, and people complain about it all the time. “Millennials” watching entire concerts through the cameras on their phones, fussing about the filter on the photo of their lunch while absent-mindedly eating it. They may not have fully experienced what they were doing, but they certainly have proof that they did it — proof for other people and for themselves.

I’m not here to judge those people. I’m just concerned that people who came of age with social media, like me, might be forgetting how to experience things.

For the new year, my plan is to be conscious of this and try to reverse it.

I’m going to keep having great days that no one I knew in high school who still follows me on Instagram will know about. They don’t need to know about it, and I don’t need to tell them about it in order to have nice memories.

By Toni Pennello

[email protected]

Toni Pennello is a Wilkes University senior who works in the Times Leader newsroom.