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// At St Olaf College

But Wait, Let Me Take A Selfie!

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I once walked into a room of my closest friends, and went unnoticed for five minutes.

You guessed it! They were scrolling through Facebook on their phones.

Now, I don’t pretend not to be a culprit of this myself. I’ve been known to casually pull out my phone for no apparent reason, then proceed to scroll through an endless newsfeed. I’m no stranger to the selfies, the bright filters, or the emojis that accompany them - because we just couldn’t convey the emotion with a picture. I’ve even posted a few of them myself.

But if you walked into a room of people you love and none of them noticed you, you’d feel what I felt. Frustrated, exasperated, and a little indignant.

Maybe I’m sounding egocentric to you. But I addressed these people - people who usually greet me with a great big hug - and their eyes didn’t even look up at me this time. I’m sure you’ve all had this rather surreal experience before. You’re sitting at dinner with a group of friends, and there’s a lull in the conversation. After a while, one person pulls out their phone. Then another. And then another. Sooner or later, you’re the only one still in real time. But you know what you do, right? Pull out your own phone…

And what are we really looking at when we open up Facebook or Instagram? A constant tirade of snapshots. Snapshots of interesting people’s lives. And so you want to add your own fascinating snapshots to the mix. Why? Because you’ve got to look like you’re having just as much fun as they are.

It’s tough, when we have these hand-held cameras constantly at our disposal, not to capture every memory or experience we have. But there comes a point when the memory you captured was the memory of taking a picture. How do we pose? How do we smile? Pouty face? Duck face? The list is endless.

But my point is, wouldn’t it be nice to have a memory stored in your brain? To be able to recall it if the zombie apocalypse really does happen and we’re left with just the bare bones of life? I want to tell my grandchildren about the good times I had with my friends in college, not hand them a slideshow on my iPad. And furthermore, when I tell them about what we did in college, I don’t want to tell them we took pictures for fun. I’d like to tell them about that first road trip, watching the sunset, and stargazing.

So, try something for me. Just once. The next time you want to snap a picture of you and your friends out on the town together, take a second and look around at their faces. Hug them. Laugh with them. Notice them when they come in the room. I think you’ll like the feeling.

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