“Is Facebook making us forget?” Review
Earlier this week, I was wasting time on Facebook and happened across the UK article “Is Facebook making us forget? Study shows that taking pictures ruin memories.” As you might imagine, my interest was piqued, so I stopped aimlessly perusing and read the article.
It briefly recounts a psychological study where university students were asked to either photograph or simply look at art in a museum. The next day, their memory was tested and it was concluded that “the subjects were less able to recognize the objects they had photographed compared to those they had only looked at.” Yet, the study also concludes that zooming in on a subject enhances memory since the photographer is focused on the object as opposed to mindlessly snapping away.
Clearly, I love photographs. Yet, I’ve been guilty of seeing an event through the lens of my camera instead of fully experiencing it in the moment. So, I’ve been trying to be better about handing the camera to someone else. In fact, I decided to leave my DSLR at home for Christmas and simply snap a few photos for my album with my phone…more on that in a moment.
The final paragraph states that “research has suggested that the sheer volume and lack of organization of digital photos for personal memories discourages many people from accessing and reminiscing about them…In order to remember, we have to access and interact with the photos, rather than just amass them.” The educator in me started jumping up and down at this point, because teachers know that “learning requires active involvement. Learning happens when students actively process information through writing, talking, and transforming by using a variety of organization strategies” (Duke & Pearson, 2002). We must get our photos off the camera/phone and transform them into something new.
This is why I scrapbook. I reflect upon the photos I take, organize them either by event or person, and capture my memories through journaling. I transform the photos and stories into blog posts, digital or paper scrapbook pages, and even home décor. The time I spend with those photos allows me to relive the event, so I take my time when making layouts. I love that process.
So, what happens to me when someone else takes the photos or I leave my camera behind? In the moment, I may enjoy myself more, such as when my husband took photos during our day trip to Positano, Italy. Yet, when I later saw the photos, I agonized over the fact that they all had a blue tint. The act of reliving the event through my scrapbook was not nearly as enjoyable. The same thing happened to me this year at Christmas. I snapped a few photos with my phone, but the poor quality of the images distresses me and makes me wish I had taken my good camera.
In 2014, I will strive for a happy medium. I will take my DSLR to events and capture several photos that I know will make me happy. I’ll also let other people take photos so that I’m in the story, as well. I’ll experience the moment with my own eyes, but I’ll also let the camera help me capture the moments that I want to remember the most. When I get home, I’ll organize, reflect, and transform!
Please leave a comment and let me know what you think about this study.