Psychotherapist and minister Nancy Colier asks "Are our devices training us to escape the moment?" The everyday mind, she argues, "wants to narrate our life, to tell the story of what is happening to us," to continually make sense of what we're doing and what's going on around us. One of the things we learn to do as we get older is to slow this process down, to allow ourselves the chance to observe without making immediate judgments. But social media, Colier argues, "supports the mind’s natural need to experience life through its own narrated version, as opposed to directly, without commentary." It pushes us back to the state of narrating and interpreting everything right now.
Wellbeing can only exist in the moment. Technology encourages us to depart the moment.... Technology creates an experience of the present moment as lacking, and not a place that is possible to inhabit—an experience that is the antithesis of wellbeing.
As we absorb the positive aspects of technology, we need to stay fiercely aware of its power to steer us away from our true needs. We must remain mindful of our own minds and careful not to be seduced into the unconsciousness that technology makes possible. Technology is powerful in its ability to form alliances with and strengthen aspects of the mind that profoundly challenge and disrupt our capacity to be well, to feel grounded, calm, centered, connected, in a word—good. If we stop being diligent with our self-awareness and choose to surrender into the temptation of pleasure and avoidance, to disappear into the addiction of distraction that technology offers, technology will end up leading us away from what makes us fundamentally well.
A little while ago, I stopped tweeting my travels. I still take plenty of pictures while I'm on the road, and will blog about trips, but I do that from the hotel room or when I'm back home. I find that for me it's more satisfying to focus on the day, and save the filtering and reflection for the evening. Nobody needs an hour-by-hour update of where I am or what I'm kind of seeing as I tweet; but in an account of an entire conference or weekend I can offer something more substantive, or unexpected. (A blow-by-blow of getting stuck in an airport, for example, isn't so interesting, but a longer post might be. Judge for yourself.)
Basically, what Colier is arguing is that if you over-report (and thus, I would argue, instantly interpret) what's happening to you, you might miss that great unexpected view while you're looking for the hastag on your smartphone. But just as important, you also reduce the interpretive space around those events: you reduce the range of senses you can make of the event later on. You can't live-tweet your way to a better understanding of your life.