Does Online Sharing Diminish Real Life Experiences?

When we travel, we love to share our experiences. Whether via blog posts, tweets, Facebook status updates or photo sharing apps, broadcasting experiences – particularly those involving travel and food – has become as much a part of life as, well, life itself. But is that a good thing? Does constantly live-sharing experiences diminish the experiences themselves? Watching this video for the new Evernote Food app left me feeling a bit overwhelmed by social media.

Don’t get me wrong; I share photos of my meals and tweet about my travels as much, if not more, than the next guy. I’m guilty of this. But something about this video – and the app itself – has me feeling that we might have reached a tipping point in social media.

We already run the risk of seeing our trips through viewfinders rather than our own eyes. Now we seem to be sacrificing conversations and interaction with the people around us for popularity online. When meals are placed on tables across the world, servers are ignored, dining companions are told not to touch anything and smartphones emerge to document the food from all angles. Only after the appropriate number of glamour shots have been posted to Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook and now, apparently, Food, can people actually, you know, eat.

At some point, we all need to remember that the urge to document and share our experiences is born from the fact that the experiences are enjoyable to us first. In order for our online social networks to live vicariously through us, we first need to do some living. If you’re only doing activities for the stories or clout (or worse, Klout), are you really doing anything at all?

So, maybe we should put down the smartphones and cameras for a bit, take a break from sharing everything online and enjoy the company of the people sitting right next to us. Savor ours meal for our own sake. If we don’t, it’s a slippery slope to this becoming a reality:

Let’s create memories that live more vividly and richly in our minds than they ever could in a status update. Life was in HD long before our cameras were.

Photo by Flickr user adactio.