Why my memories are better than yours.

That’s right.  My memories are better than yours.  Why is that the case you ask, well, most likely because you didn’t see it on social media.  I will caveat this article as to not be an affront on those who do live out loud on social media (although, you’ve been warned) but more of a look at social culture as things have evolved over the years.

Recently, I took a trip with my family down to California.  Yay!?– Right?  Of course.  What I did though was to make a conscious effort to not take a picture, selfie or even video of every little thing we did or that the kids experienced.  But why?  Honestly, I had the thought that living in the moment of the experience outweighed the significance of taking a picture;  secondly, memories by virtue create such a hardwired bond that by definition, we tend to remember them more fluidly than a picture or even video can capture.

I was curious, was this just conjecture on my part or actually some scientific point to how the brain processes memories?  Ironically, a quick Bing/Google search shows that how memories are made, are quite amazing.  According to work done via ULCA scientists found that:

… spontaneous memories arise through the activity of the very same neurons that fired when the memory was first being made. (Ref: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080908101651.htm )

Now why is this a big deal–  Well in the study, it showed how activity based memory showed neurons firing that were fired while initially creating the memory.  This of course lead me to wonder the resilience of the human mind recalling the activity (on their vacation) to prove my point.  Ironically, when we take a picture, video or whatever the form of media that encapsulates the memory are we remembering what we’re viewing through our screen/lens or the actual picture/video recording event itself?  To me, it definitely seems to be the latter as when you recall something that is not recorded, there is basically no filter to how your memory recalls it.  A picture, even though it is a snapshot of time (and an activity) is not representative of what story is being told.

So why the hate?  Well, I feel like this Reddit post summarizes my “hate” on this ugly trend:

After I got back from my trip, I had two close friends stay with me (I live in the SF bay area, so I often have friends from other states visit). They took photos of almost every meal we ate and every view we saw.

So, it left me with a question for myself: could I go on a vacation and not take a single picture? Would I miss not having some documentation of the trip, or would it be a more intense experience because I’m not subconsciously concerned about creating an interesting story to tell facebook once I get back? – not-a-ginger [via Reddit] (Ref: http://www.reddit.com/r/minimalism/comments/2jpxim/could_you_go_on_vacation_and_not_take_any_pictures/ )

The poster even makes the claim (that I think is valid) are our the photos we take on vacation simply more “digital junk”?  I think the answer could be, yes.

So next time when you’re on Vacation, set aside your smartphone, your iPad, your stupid Self-Stick, even your DSLR and embrace the natural wonder of creating a fresh memory that only you can remember and that you can let live forever.

=A