04 December 2013
The mobile phone has had a huge impact on the way we lead our lives today. There aren't that many pieces of technology that can really lay claim to such a statement. The car, yes, television, yes, the internet, definitely but other technological advances although crucial and essential to our continued existence haven't changed the rhythm of our lives as much as the mobile phone. We are now contactable anywhere and everywhere, and with the advent of the camera phone we are now able to record our lives and our experiences for posterity at the drop of a hat, or at least at the tap of an icon. Everyone who owns a smartphone has the capacity to become his or her own television crew and because most of us have our phones with us at all times, that is exactly what is happening.
There are a staggering 4.4 billion camera phones in use across the globe today and more than 82% of us use our phone cameras to take pictures rather than our digital cameras. Not surprisingly, sales of digital cameras are in decline, already down 10% in 2012 and likely to have fallen still further this year. Apparently, we take as many photos today in two minutes as Victorians took in the whole of the 1800s. Not surprisingly, many of these photos end up on Facebook, which has, apparently, 240 billion photos uploaded onto it, 10,000 times more than the US Library of Congress. Facebook, in fact, has 1.1 billion users who post a staggering 350 million photos a day. The most common photos are reportedly of cats, dogs, children, shoes, trees and, of course, selfies, a relatively new phenomenon referring to our habit of taking pictures of ourselves at fairly regular intervals during our day to day lives. Many of these are uploaded to social networking sites but you can also use them for personalised phone cases or even create your own tablet case.
A tool for change
One advantage of this continued trend of recording our lives as they happen for others to see on social networking sites, is that if something significant does happen there is usually someone around to document it. This can be incredibly useful if the law has been broken and someone has been hurt. In fact, just knowing that their behaviour is likely to be recorded may act as a deterrent for some. Mobile phone footage can have very serious consequences and has triggered riots and contributed to social unrest in countries such as Iran, China and North Korea. No wonder some authorities are keen to crack down on their ownership.
Experiencing life behind a lens
Inevitably, there is a downside to the mobile phone camera. Do we ever really enjoy ourselves any more, by living absolutely in the moment? Having our cameras with us 24/7, means that it is so much harder to give ourselves up to the joy of experiencing something without worrying about where to get the best camera shot from, or thinking about how funny our friends will find our photos once we've uploaded them to Facebook. Yes, it is important to cover special moments but how much better to really see them with the naked eye before we click.
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Kimberley Rogers on Wednesday, December 04, 2013 · Leave a Comment