'A Defining Question in an iPhone Age: Live for the Moment or Record It?' by Alex Williams, NY Times

Scott Welch’s video as his JetBlue flight filled with smoke went viral, to mixed reviews. 

Scott Welch’s video as his JetBlue flight filled with smoke went viral, to mixed reviews. 

"It is no longer enough to record seemingly every last moment of life with your smartphone, it seems. Near-death is fair game, too.

Thanks to the Personal Video Industrial Complex — tens of millions of video-enabled smartphones, feeding countless hours daily to video-sharing behemoths like YouTube — rock concerts, presidential inaugurations, fourth-grade school plays and even midair near-disasters can all be considered “content” now, inspiring us all to tap our inner Edward R. Murrow and record the event for posterity.

But even as public gatherings, from the world-historical to the intimate, evolve into a sea of glowing blue screens, a backlash has started to take root. An improbable assortment of critics — mindfulness gurus, twee indie rockers, even, seemingly, Pope Francis — have started to implore these armchair videographers to drop their phones and actually start living again."

Read the full essay in the New York Times here.