Why Do We Document So Much? Pt 1

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been having a long in-depth think about documenting experiences. By this, I specifically mean our current fascination with taking photos of everything, selfies at every opportunity, and the rise of vloggers filming their daily lives.

I think my recent video I made following my trip to Budapest prompted this train of thought, as I know that whilst I was there I was often conscious of getting photos and short bits of video to look at then I got home, and then share online.

We live in a world where it has become normal to share just about anything on social media, whether that be what you’ve had for lunch, an engagement, your holidays, pretty much everything ends up online now.

Let’s start with why I document things:

Ever since I first held a camera I’ve been obsessed with taking photos. When I was roughly 9 years old I borrowed my Mum's camera and went around my whole house and garden taking photos of everything from the kitchen sink to intricate details on our hall wallpaper. Why? Who knows, my friend’s Mum thought it was hilarious at the time and joked to my own Mum whether I was secretly uploading all these photos to an estate agents site to sell the house. Mega Lolz.

On my 10th birthday I was given my very own digital camera, and it quickly became my prized possession.

From that point on me and my bezzie mate would take photos of ourselves at any given opportunity and would fill up my (back then very tiny) memory card in a flash. Resulting in some fabulously embarrassing old photo albums tucked away somewhere on our family PC.

Fast forward few years to year 11 - I was still using that trusty camera - and started taking photos of my friends as we began having a bit more of a grown-up up social life. By this I mean hanging out drinking Schler thinking we were the bees knees, and then uploading them to Facebook, much to the delight of my friends. Soz. I very much became the girl with the camera, and to this day I'm always the one to whip out a selfie stick taking snaps at parties and such - so much so this year on a trip to Lisbon my nickname actually became Lenses for the week. Not complaining!

Where does this obsession to take photos come from?

One of the main reasons I take photos so much, especially of me and my mates, is because I'm scared of forgetting good times. I'm a very sentimental person capturing times where I'm having fun is extremely important to me.

Only the other day I was going through my old albums with one of my oldest friends reminiscing about how our friendship group from secondary school where we would spend many an hour mucking about in one of our back gardens, eating toxic waste (the sour sweets) and trying to teach ourselves how to do handstands. That was the life I tell you. Gals if you're reading, I've got this on video. Hit me up if you wanna see it and laugh your socks off.

I also have a bit of a fear which I’ve never really talked about before, of waking up one day to realise I’ve forgotten everything. I honestly think this is due to an episode of neighbours I watched many moons ago (and I’m talking like over a decade here) at my nan's house where Susan lost her memory after slipping over and bashing her head.

Okay, real talk, I just googled that storyline and it happened it 2002. Why do I remember a storyline from neighbours from 2002!?!

Sharing my stuff?

As I mentioned the other week, I got my Facebook account when I was about 15 so there’s been a never-ending stream of what I look like since then online. But it wasn’t until 2012/13 I started to actively share “content online” with more than just my friend's list.

P.S. I'm in a weird year where I sort of missed out on Bebo and MySpace and was a bit late to Facebook.

Around the age of 16, I'd sorted myself out with an Instagram account and a little while later started a YouTube channel. After a few failed attempts at filming stuff (any videos from then have long since been deleted) there was a period of time mid-2016 where I tried vlogging in my own little way. I wouldn’t talk to the camera as such because I find that cringe AF to watch back (only when I’m watching myself, not other creators) but it’s that didn’t last very long because it was such an effort to accumulate footage I wanted and then edit it. Yes, at the time a lot of that was down to me having a laptop from the dark ages, but I then felt like I was missing out on life when I edited later on. It's a vicious cycle.

God knows how people daily vlog like I salute you.

1 second every day and Live Photos:

However, late last year when I got my first iPhone I downloaded the app 1 Second Everyday and actively started using it as a way to document my days in short little bursts.

Real talk, (yes I use that phrase way too much) LivePhotos are the best bloody to thing to happen, ever! I ADORE how you can be snap, snapping away and have lots of mini-segments of video to go with it saved in your camera roll. Since they’ve been a thing I’ve made so many short gifs of funny moments with my friends AND have happily been putting together short videos, like my Budapest one, ever since!

Now I feel like I can take a couple of Live Photos, not feel like I’m not living in the moment, but still have a great document/memory prompt at the end of it.


That's where I want to draw things to a close to for today. Next week I want to look at some of the pros and cons of documenting things and specifically look at the implications for sharing our own creations online.

For now, I'd love to know how much you document things, whether it be for your own enjoyment or to share online - or both! Why do you do it and what prompted you to begin?