I just got a smartphone about a week ago and began taking pictures of my everyday life with it to post on Facebook, which is the platform for most of my online socialization. Although we tend to focus more on the affordances or conveniences of this instantaneous technology, I was more curious about people’s instantaneous reaction to the sharing of my photos. Does anyone except my mother actually care to see random, everyday pictures of my surroundings?
I realized that the hardest thing for me in the past week was to think of what to take a picture of, and I barely managed to post one photo a day. The photos were of inanimate objects like the pile of books on my desk, a Tim Horton’s “Roll up the Rim” cup or concert tickets to a Muslim singer who was performing at Hagey Hall. Sometimes when I actually wanted to capture something, my battery was too low (stupid smartphones). So the experience turned into a conscious and calculated effort to post things that would get the best response, which is a goal I think we all have in today’s “sharing” culture. We want others to validate the way we see the world. My photos were a flop if nobody “liked” or “commented” on them.
Sadly, out of 488 Facebook friends, only 11 liked my photos for the week (combined), and three commented. And the only person to genuinely converse about my photos was my mother during our regular Skype chats.
In accordance with Cobley and Haeffner’s theory, I can understand this phenomenon as idiomatic and therefore limited to certain audiences like others who went to the same concert I did or who know that particular singer, for example. While others may give a passing glance to my oversharing of the mundane aspects of my life, I feel that the experience is more about the user’s need for social approval than the audience’s need for all 500 of their friends’ daily table photos.