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February 12, 2013

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Just like parenting, I take these things as they come. I know that no matter how many things I share, their is a montage that only I have, moments too sweet for film and too tender to ever be forgotten.

Revisiting how we manage these things is a really smart thing to do. So thank you, Kristen.

Like I said on FB, I disagree, as Vining and Instagramming totally enhanced my recent trip to Mardi Gras, as I looked for the good stories that could be captured in a few seconds of film or in a good picture. It also kept me from getting too intoxicated.

In "normal" life when we're supposed to be interacting with our family at home, however, I can see why these distractions would detract from interactions and experiences.

I decided awhile ago not to tweet during blogging events because I found I would tweet a great quote from a speaker only to miss the next 2 sentences while typing. I also hate talking to people who have a phone stuck in front of their face - even among bloggers, where it is somewhat acceptable.

I haven't thought about deleting my FB app on my phone though, and I really need to. I do find that I miss out on moments or conversations in my own life because I'm busy checking in on someone else's life.

Great food for thought.

Maybe I'm just not very skilled at capturing my family's best moments but so many times something happens and I grab the camera but when I click I find I've missed what I wanted to capture in the first place. I wish I could have taken a video of my 6 year old son today when he saw my hands full and offered to help out with my youngest by playing with her on the floor. Or capture my 3 year olds' face when he decides to grace me with an 'I love you' back because I can see it in his eyes - it melts my heart - I wish I could take a picture of that. This time with my young ones is slipping by like sand through my fingers. Pictures are great and I'm sure will comfort me somewhat when my kids have grown but I think the law of diminishing returns comes into effect when it comes to taking photos.

Oh man. Man oh man.

Sometimes, I want to make a fun/cute snack for the kids and then think, "Oh, I should just go and snap a picture and blah....". I've finally gotten to the point where, NO, I do not need to show it off to other people. I made it for the kids. They eat it. Like it. I'm happy.

I absolutely HATE facebook with a passion. I've deactivated my account so many times (but always end up going back). Too many people I know IRL choose to feel that if they know my FB status, then they know what's going on in my life.

I enjoy technology. I enjoy that it gave me a career. I enjoy that I can look up things ASAP if I need to.

But good gravy, I hate what technology is doing to people. I'm sad that my kids will grow up thinking this nonstop tweeting/texting/Instagramming/facebooking is normal.

About a month after baby #3 was born last July, I deleted my FB account. I am just so incredibly busy with 3 kids under 5. One day I asked myself, "Is this enhancing my life in any way?" No, it was not. I missed it at first but now, 6 months later, I could care less.

I am on IG with a private account and 13 followers, all people from high school or friends I've known since I was little. I do enjoy sharing a few pics now and then and also looking at other peoples pictures. It helps at 3 AM when I'm nursing to pass the time a bit. I toy with deleting that account as well but so far I haven't.

My recent fix to the "too much media all the time" thing is to keep my phone on silent and periodically check it for messages. I catch up on the news when it's nap time, while the kids are sleeping/playing quietly in their rooms and the baby is sleeping/nursing on my lap. I only turn on my computer at night, mostly because there's just no time at all during the day. I mean, if I have 10 minutes, I'd rather shower or just sit in the bathroom alone where it is quiet.

What's an ROI? Oh God. WHAT'S AN ROI?

I see your point, I really do. But I think there's a happy medium. FB most of all, but certainly Instagram and Twitter are how I keep up with the people I know IRL who don't live near me...which is most of them. I live so far from friends and family and with two kids in dance and gymnastics, it's how I communicate with them and they communicate with me. I've been making a real effort to leave behind my "good camera" and not to drag out the iPod as often as I used to. I try to soak in rehearsals and practices. Sure, I snap shots here and there but I may not post them for a few hours and sometimes not until the next day. Luckily for me, with my iPod, if I don't have a WiFi connection (which I don't most places), I can't instantly connect anyway. Yes, I want to be present for my kids, but I also don't want to sacrifice the connections with the other people in my life too.

A couple weekends ago, I went on a press trip with my family. I took one Instagram photo, checked in on FB, and tweeted with the hashtag once. I was busy *experiencing* the place and all the activities, making memories that I recounted in a detailed blog post that serves as much as a personal diary of the fun we had as it does earned coverage for my sponsor.

That's not to say that another approach - tweeting and Instagramming every last detail, for example - is wrong, per se. It just means more to me to fully live the experience, and *then* tell others about it.

[A few of my exceptions: Sharing exotic moments (like baboons by the side of the road in Uganda) and compelling information (like relevant quotes from conference speakers).]

This is the way to talk about our distractions... unlike the other posts I came at last week. (http://4littlefergusons.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/dear-mom-on-the-iphone/) Yes we are distracted, and iAge is compounding the problem, but insta-tweet-vine is not the cause, just the symptom. We are growing into the society that expects next level of sharing (and not all positive) that we have not figured out yet. So we are stumbling. And neck-breaking speed of change is not helping. This is same social earthquake when people switched living in small family groups with living in big villages/cities, but at least that took long time. The fact that this type of socialization is new to us, does not make it bad. But same as cities needed sewage to make them liveable, we need some tools/thinking to make iAge liveable.

I go back and forth on this. I love being in the moment, enjoying, focusing. But even as a kid, before social media or sharing, I loved being behind a camera or scribbling notes on a pad (or chisel and tablet circa 200 BC) and documenting. There are so many photos I look back on and think that I would have forgotten those moments had I not snapped.

The real issue is the sharing part, for me. While at dinner, are you creating in your head the story to tell others? Or can you just enjoy the dinner and then tomorrow, think about how--and whether--to tell the story.

Sometime last year I was at a figure skating medal ceremony for my youngest daughter. I looked around me and saw about 80 parents behind giant cameras snapping and filming away. I, on the other hand, had no camera or video or anything. I stood there and watched my daughter. I watched her face, her smile, her giant wave when she spotted me in the crowd. It was wonderful.

It put a lot into perspective to me. I don't want to be the parent paparazzi. And while I do document a lot of things in my children's lives (and love to! I really love to!), I don't always. It's THE MOMENT first, the memorexing second.

Yes, I am always trying to walk that fizzy line between capturing and just being the moments of my life. Right now I'm a bit fixated on the capturing because it is fun and creatively satisfying but it definitely has its limits.

This is a tension I feel every single day. I want to record these moments, because I think it helps me remember them, but I do recall a day a year or two ago when I looked around and realized that most of the parents in the gym were experiencing the kids' concert through the lenses of their iphones. I didn't want that. So, back to the tension, the trade-off, the ambivalence about this topic. I have no answers, but thank you for raising the question here. xo

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