Its summer time! Given the fact that Kuwait is home to a transient population, the majority are already either packing their luggage or en route to exciting locations where they will relax and unwind; a process of recharging the batteries and clearing the consciousness after a long year at work. Whilst some may be busy contemplating how they will enjoy their time whilst on their vacations, the majority are stuck with the same conundrum: how to best share their experiences and in the process make their friends green with envy?
This problem never existed a decade and a half ago when the only form of documented proof for a holiday well spent came in a small plastic tube and lasted for only 30 shots a time (34 if you were lucky). To those too young to remember, we refer here to the age of the ACTUAL camera, as opposed to its digital counterpart. As shots were scarce and expensive (relatively) to develop, pictures were not wasted on such mundane activities as the nowadays ever apparent “hand shot” or a picture of a glorious pair of sandals/shoes. Every picture was made to count, and much time was spent asking strangers to “please take a picture of me”, with no time wasted on viewing the picture afterward and deleting it because you closed your eyes at the last second or had your tongue hanging out like a moron.
Today’s holiday-goers face a new challenge: where to best share their adventure? Do they want people to “like” and “comment” on their trips? Do they want their works of art to be “retweeted” with “hashtags” to a more global audience? Do they just want their experience to be viewed and not shared, liked and not stolen? Do they want to “check in” at famous landmarks?
The realm of social media has left many struggling with finding the time to actually enjoy their own vacation as opposed to earning bragging rights by showing off what a great time they are having as translated by the number of likes, favorites, plus ones or retweets they receive.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the likes have taken up a huge amount of peoples focus when it comes to enjoyment. It is not a strange sight to find tourists lackadaisically taking “selfies” (photos of themselves, taken by themselves) or in a group setting attempting to snag a photo at the exact right millisecond of a mid-air jump whilst standing before a majestic landmark such as the pyramids of Egypt, The Treasury of Petra, Jordan, the Eiffel Tower of France; the list is varying and can go on indefinitely. The common factor in all these pictures is how the subjects are completely oblivious to the sense of awe that attempts to ensnare their psyche and cause momentary pause in appreciation of such grandeur.
Anyone can find a picture and share it with their friends; this can happen at any time of day. What does not happen often however is travelling to a new destination, a new culture, amidst a different society with a different set of traditions and norms.
This year, attempt to be different. Turn off the Wi-Fi and the 3G. Take pictures that count, ones that matter. Lose yourself in the real world surrounded by the sights and scents of everything different. Afterward, feel free to chronicle your travels upon your return. Waste not the precious time you have in updating your status or selecting the right filter to give your shot a more vintage look.
Social media on vacations is like a baby crying for attention; when they don’t receive what they want, they throw temper tantrums. The best solution is to ride it out, resist the urge to fall slave to their whims and be at their beck and call 24/7.
Take a much deserved vacation not just from your workplace, but also from the digital space where which you reside on an hourly basis. Enjoy your vacations now, tell people about them tomorrow.