Ray Ban and Meta announced a partnership last year to sell high quality smart glasses. The glasses include two cameras and allow the user to record videos and take pictures discreetly. This idea is a nightmarish development in the expanding invasion of privacy that is quickly taking over our lives. As TikTok has become more popular the quest for likes has resulted in people recording every simple interaction they can in the hopes of getting that sweet validation so many desperately crave.
Instead of living in the moment and enjoying the goofy company of close friends, every word or action now needs to be carefully self-monitored to prevent yourself from becoming a viral laughingstock. Every mistake a person makes, joke a person tells, or awkward moment someone has is now at risk of being blasted over the internet for millions to see. The mistakes of our past are doomed to haunt us as self-righteous observers pick up their pitchforks to attack those they deem immoral after watching a 30 second TikTok video. Just as frustrating are the secret recordings of people who do not realize they are being made fun of for the entertainment of strangers.
It is a universal truth that everyone has said something they wish they didn’t say or done something they wish they did not do. In the past, these moments could be easily forgotten. Now, it seems as though even the most mundane activities need to be choreographed and filmed like we are all actors in an episode of “Girls” The ability to create narratives from short clips has allowed people to villainize others they don’t like. One famous example of this is the video recording of Douglas Levison yelling at a trumpet player in New York City. Levison has said in interviews after the incident that he was frustrated with the noisy trumpet player for almost hitting him with his bike. Levison’s reaction was certainly overkill, but the mountain of insults calling him ugly, short and a goblin were equally uncalled for because no one knew what happened before the camera was recording. Levison went on to lampoon himself in the film Heaven Knows What, demonstrating he at least has a sense of humor about the incident.
In some cases, recording people is no doubt a good thing. During the 2020 murder of George Floyd a cell phone recording provided the critical evidence needed to convict police officer Derek Chauvin and send him to prison. This is one of the greatest examples of when recording something yields positive results – in this case, the conviction of a murderer. Technological advancements, including more abundant cameras, do have the potential to improve our lives when it comes to crime prevention. Video evidence can assist in proving or disproving guilt in the case of serious crimes. That being said, convicting someone who committed a crime is very different from recording your wannabe comedian friend doing an insensitive standup routine. Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram and others are now holding piles of dirt on people that have in many cases been used to destroy the lives of good people. The same people who cast the heaviest judgment upon those who they deem immoral or wrong are in reality just waiting their turn to sit in the same exact hot seat. We have all gotten upset at someone and overreacted or said something awkward. That is why there are so many memes that literally joke about this very fact.
Think before you pull out your phone. Ask yourself this important question, “will anyone care about this as much as I do?” If the answer is not an enthusiastic “yes” then do yourself and others a favor. Stop recording every moment you have and posting it on the internet. You may not realize it now, but we do not yet live in a world that forgives the common mistakes of people. Save the camera for truly important moments because we live in a world that is constantly looking for the next person to hate and using social media to find them. This reality is unfortunately very dangerous for our futures.