Last week I (and many others) spent a lot of time documenting the Internet Librarian conference, photos, tweets, blog posts, facebook updates. Did the act of digitally documenting the events change anything? Did the process of lifestreaming change my (and others) behavior, perception of what was happening and memories of it. Will we remember it better or worse?
A recent article from CNN Do digital diaries mess up your brain? looks at the effects of lifestreaming. Just knowing others are watching you may change the types of experiences you choose to have, from books to movies to where you eat and what you wear.
“If we have experiences with an eye toward the expectation that in the next five minutes, we’re going to tweet them, we may choose difference experiences to have, ones that we can talk about rather than ones we have an interest in,” he said.
It also detaches you from what’s happening at the moment. If you’re focused on tweeting what’s happening, you’re not fully engage in what’s happening.
But recording everything you do takes people out of the “here and now,” psychologists say. Constant documenting may make people less thoughtful about and engaged in what they’re doing because they are focused on the recording process, Schwartz said.
What does that do to our actual memories of events? Memories are shaky at best even when you’re completely focused. If you’re only half there, will you remember it later without the aid of digital documentation? What would I rather have a memory of something or documentation of it to prove I was there? What if that documentation goes away?
It makes me think, I do want to be living and experiencing life to the fullest. Does this mean I’ll put down the camera, the cell phone, the laptop? I don’t know. Probably not at conferences, but I’ll be thinking hard about doing it in other areas of my life. What good is lifestreaming an experience if I’m not fully enjoying it?