Self Obsession Advances

There’s a well-expressed view that photographing an event leads to a denial of the actual experience. When eager parents carry their handy cams and record their child’s moments on stage to capture it for posterity, they miss out on the feeling it generates. They obsess about the lighting, get irritated if their view is obstructed and agonise about having captured the right angles. They think they can replay it several times at home later if they want to. But the shaky camera movements, the less than stellar sound and the ‘bobbing heads’ in front are all too evident. It’s the reason home movies are dreaded and today, a lot more people are inflicting them on family and friends. Now that even mobile phones are capable of capturing video, we can all look forward to grainy, shaky personal interpretations.

This self-obsession has given rise to interesting documentation. Here’s a guy who took a photo of himself everyday for eight years. But I don’t know if I want to see how every person on earth has aged. Or what they have eaten. Even if it is gloriously shot and packaged. Twitter has ensured that you can now tell the world whether you are bored, angry, happy or anywhere else in between. Four Square and other location based services now tell everyone where you are once you check in. Why is that important, unless you are the President, is not clarified. When Pranav Mistry demonstrated Sixth Sense technology at TED, he brought the audience to its feet. What he proposed was a way to document every waking moment of an individual’s life. That’s a lifetime of home movies for you, literally.

Now another service is making the rounds. It’s called IntoNow and it gives people who sign in the ability to tell their friends what they are watching on TV by just pressing a button. Neilsen created a lot of controversy trying to track people’s viewing habits and here’s this startup that makes the process – social ( There’s the dreaded word again ) They download an iPhone app, press a green button that makes out the show from the soundtrack playing on TV, and it relays it to others who have downloaded the app as well. It’s a voluntary replacement for the people meter and a lot more accurate. On one hand, you have legislation that tries to protect privacy. On the other, you have people willing to tell the world what they are eating, watching or earning, voluntarily. It’s crazy, isn’t it?