Social Media and Elton John!

July 12, 2010  |  Entertainment

Lucky girl.  I sat about 100 feet away from Sir Elton John on the weekend – taking in one of the most spectacular concerts ever.  His musicianship is unparalleled.  He is an utter genius.  The iconic melodies still linger in my head.  Singing along with “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” will go down as one of the great moments in my life.  But my how concerts have changed, kids.  Instead of simply letting the beauty of the music wash over you and speak to your soul, it now seems the point of being there is to take constant pictures and/or videos of the stage in order to post them on Facebook or email them to your friends as proof you did something cool on Saturday night.  Are you kidding me??? (More…)

Not only did the three people in the row in front of me barge in 25 minutes late, they each pulled out either a digital camera or an iPhone and proceeded to spend the rest of the show – and I mean the entire rest of the show – taking pictures of the stage – and each other!  One of the women took so many shots of her boyfriend sitting in his seat I lost count.  Clearly, she was going for the world’s record.  You know what?  It isn’t a house party.  It’s an arena where some 17,000 other people came to enjoy the MUSIC!

Did I love the concert?  Absolutely.  Did I have to work twice as hard at it as I might have if those people hadn’t been there?  Absolutely.

So what’s become of us as a society???  This is one example, in my mind, of how social media has had a negative effect on us.  To spend close to 3 hours taking pictures of Elton John IS TO MISS THE POINT ENTIRELY.  The point of going to a concert is to appreciate the musician and revel in his artistry… to escape the day-to-day realities we all face and delight in the NOW.  To let the music touch your heart and yes, your soul.

When you distract the people sitting around you – people who paid hard-earned money for what could for them be a once-in-a-lifetime experience – you are robbing them of the joy they’d been looking forward to for weeks.

Sorry, my friends.  Facebook and Twitter don’t give you the right to steal from me.  Next time, leave the camera at home and bring your sense of wonder instead.  I’m pretty sure Sir Elton would agree.   ;-)

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15 Comments


  1. Whenever the King elections are being held, I’ll be voting for you. Thanks for the new legislation! Can’t wait to be legally allowed to beat the inconsiderate idiots to death with their own technology. “Like this camera? You do? That’s a shame. Because I’m about to smash you and your friends here over the head with it, and then unceremoniously shove whatever’s left up your &%$#@. I’m liking the idea of OLD TESTAMENT STYLE justice. A few random corpses here and there might be a nice addition to the planetary decor.

    Long live the King. ;-)
    In this case, The Lion King.

  2. The great one eyed cycloptic morons who live in the “remember when” are sucking up air the rest of us could be using. They completely ignore the moment they are in…so that they can collect pointless pixels that they can review later, to recollect the show they were at but didn’t see because they were too busy takig shots to remember it.
    When I am elected King, regular folks like yourself will be legally allowed, even encouraged, to beat them to death with their technology for being such wastes of skin.
    Other potential kill targets include: non-signalling drivers, morons who hog the aisle in supermarkets, “when harry met sally” food orderers in the drive-thru, and people who dump their ashtrays in parking lots. I think a few random corpses here and there (ala:the planet of the apes forbdden zone) will go a long way to sending a message that lack of awareness of others will be dealt with OLD TESTAMENT STYLE.

  3. Kathilee… Good point. Rude people have always been around. Before social media, they were using their video camera to wreck your good time. It’s just that now, there are so many MORE of them… It’s a ten dollar word, but it really fits here… UBIQUITOUS! Everywhere, all the time, 24-7.
    And Sean… What a great lesson for all of us. LET YOUR MIND’S EYE BE THE REAL CAMERA OF YOUR LIFE. So well said.

  4. On my recent, once-in-a-lifetime flight in a DC-3 Dakota at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum I was clicking away trying to grab the ultimate shot of the C47 plane off our wing. I literally had to stop myself and say “Just enjoy the moment and watch for a bit because this will never happen to you again”. I swear that’s what I said to myself. Once I got on the ground and reflected for a few minutes I took out my phone and posted the video I’d captured to Facebook so all of you could share in my special moment. There’s no reason that savoring the moment and capturing it can’t co-exist. You just have to make sure you have your priorities straight. 45 seconds of video is enough to remember the event with. Let your mind’s eye be the real camera of your life.

  5. I have to weigh in on this too. Unfortunately inconsiderate and self involved people were around long before social media. I remember taking a spectacular cruise thru the Fjords in NZ and having difficulty seeing the mountains thru the sea of videotaping idiots around the railing of the boat! Come on people put the cameras down and be in the moment otherwise you might as wellstay home and watch the DVD and save a ton of $

  6. Thanks for commiserating, Shelley! Sean made a similar point. Rude is rude – whether you’re living in 1974 or 2010… the only difference is the way you show it. I can handle a picture or two. I can’t handle a whole night of technology-gone-nuts. I repeat: Leave the *&^! camera at home and bring your sense of wonder and magic instead. Those things will stay with you a lifetime… The pictures will someday fade or be deleted by your mischievous 5 year old who pushes the wrong button. What then? I ask you. ;-)

  7. Shelley Mierkalns

    Karen, I was there (side stage 2nd row with Elton facing me.)!
    I brought along the digital camera, fully intending to snap photos….however Sir Elton “had me roped and tied”…spectacular concert by a performer still at the top of his game….BACK TO THE TOPIC, I eventually pulled out the camera & snapped 4 pics just to prove how close I was…..
    Our section was pretty tame….not many pics being taken. I feel for you…..borrowing from Elton, what a “Sad, sad situation”….I agree, those spending the entire night recording away missed out on a truly magical experience and ruined it for others….maybe it’s not Social Media though…sounds like the group near you would have been the same type to stand on their chairs & block your view back in the pre iPhone days….rudeness is never in style……

  8. You are so right, Al. “Anti-Social Media” it is! We need to go back to a simpler time when experiencing the joy of the event was more important than recording it for posterity or all your friends to see. Right on!

  9. It should really be tagged ‘anti-social media’. So many young people are so busy recording activities that they have missed out on the joy of the actual event. To many life is now something to be watched rather than lived. Annoying? Yes, but more sad for them if you ask me. Put away your phones and gadgets and try just enjoying a night out with friends sometime. You will be amazed how much fun it can be to live life instead of watching it.

  10. Ha! Good to hear from the opposing side. You know what? If I were in a standing, drinking situation, I’d probably think it was great, too. (And I don’t drink as much as you do, so I’d actually be taking shots that weren’t of the backs of people’s heads!) The thing is, this wasn’t a standing, drinking thing. It was a sit-down, civilized, I paid $85. for this ticket kind of thing. Greatness was in town that night, and I figured “Who am I to argue? GO!!!”

    On some level, I can see your point about taking pictures being part of the fun. However, it ceases to be part of the fun is when it becomes inconsiderate, thoughtless and downright RUDE. Those people were boobs. But to pull them aside and talk to them while the show was on would only have disrupted everyone more. And explaining thoughtlessness to someone who is thoughtless is, as a friend of mine says, like explaining computers to dolphins. They just don’t get it.

  11. Okay. I’m going to buck the trend here and say that, personally, I love that I can take pictures of an event and post them to social media right away. Now…I must say that I haven’t done that in a “sit down” situation because all of the concerts I’ve been to here in England have been “standing and drinking” situations. The only difficulty there is that I drink too much and take lots of shots of the backs of people’s heads.
    Sugarland, Martina McBride, Rush, Toby Keith, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Brad Paisley, Iron Maiden, Jethro Tull…I had my iPhone in overdrive. I wish I could have done that at all of the concerts over the years: Eagles, Garth, Charlie Pride, George Strait, Beach Boys, Sha Na Na…
    Now, what does bug me are those people who are sitting waaaaaaaayyyyyy up in the gods, taking pictures—USING FLASH!!! Hello…the flash is only effective up to about 12 feet away.

  12. You know what, Lisa? You’re right. Taking even a few photos is WRONG. I looked up the venue policy online when I got home, and apparently it’s only video cameras that are not allowed. It doesn’t seem to stipulate anything about still cameras. I agree that peer pressure is one of the few things that has the power to change it… the trouble is, the idiots who are responsible all have friends who think it’s a great idea! Their peers would never think of pressuring them into stopping.
    That being said… I think something else has the power to change it… People like you and me SPEAKING OUT and yelling “ENOUGH!!!” at the top of our lungs. Ready? All together now… ENOUGH!!!!!

  13. I agree – people have always been selfish and annoying at concerts however I disagree that there’s “nothing wrong” with taking a few photos. I don’t know what the policy was last night but before most shows they say taking photographs is prohibited and then people snap away like lunatics with no consequences. What will change it? Peer pressure. Until it’s no longer cool to post such photos and people stop clicking the “like” button, the photo takers will continue to do it. And when will that happen? Never! It’s the new normal, I’m afraid.

  14. I couldn’t have said it better if I tried. You nailed it. The people who’ve always been at concerts sitting right in front of you doing stupid, thoughtless things are still there — It’s just that now technology has made them even more annoying. Instead of spilling beer on you or making out with their girlfriend all night long, or hoisting their 3-year-old on their shoulders so that Junior can see the circus elephant better than you can, they have technology on their side. Digital cameras and iPhones are their annoying weapons of choice. You want to take a picture? Go ahead. Take a couple. But when you distract everyone around you with CONSTANT photos and (illegal) videos of the stage and YOUR FRIENDS – the gloves are off, baby. I say it’s time for concert venues to have a STRICT no camera policy. It’ll never happen, but I think it should.

  15. Nothing wrong with taking a few snapshots to capture the moment but I don’t know of any cell phone camera that takes a decent picture in a concert situation (maybe the new iPhone4 will change that)so why you would need to snap away all night long is beyond me. It’s starting to look like an event isn’t real unless you can document it with your smartphone. I’m guilty of this myself, but not to the degree that you saw on Saturday night. There will always be annoying, stupid people at concerts and they will always be sitting right in front of you. They’ve just replaced their home made banners and girlfriends on their shoulders with iPhones and digital cameras.

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