One day when I was in Africa, my camera got some water damage. I went on a hike the night before which ended up taking me through a huge thunderstorm, and when I woke up the next morning, everything I saw through the camera was blurry. This really bothered me at the time, I was going to have to go through the entire day without pictures. I was going to have to return home with an incomplete set and just tell people that I saw lots of cool stuff, instead of showing it to them in images.
This got me thinking about today’s culture. Many people today have a "show me the picture/video or it didn’t happen" attitude. The idea of telling stories about what happened seems to be more and more obsolete. It’s a huge shame because this is a huge part of human connection. Pictures relay what happened, while stories relay what happened AND how you feel about what happened. This is a huge difference which is often lost today. Many people have seen my pictures from my last trip, but it is only a few who have made the (much appreciated) effort to actually ask for some of the real stories of what happened.
Think about the last trip you have been on, or the last exciting thing that happened to you, or the last thing which really moved you. Do you feel good by the number of people who saw a picture of it? Does the number of "likes" help validate your experience to you? Or, is telling the story about what happened what you really enjoy? I contend it is the latter for almost everybody. Believe it or not, there was a time when the quality of experiences was measured by memories and not by how good the picture is, or how many "friends" on Instagram decided to click a heart-shaped button under it.
My invitation for you today is to spend some time really hearing stories from other people. Don’t just ask for their pictures, ask them what happened and how they felt when it happened. Ask them how it affects them now. Truly listen and be interested in the answer. Not only does this really make us connected with someone else, but it is a great way to live beyond an online presence. Remember the quality and excitement level of your life is not measured by how many "likes" you get online. My photo album from Africa is amazing, but what I experienced is on another level from that. That’s the part which is truly interesting.
P.S. If you do get water damage to your device, never underestimate what a bowl of dry rice can accomplish.