Recording and experience #1

This thread – “Recording and experience” – will explore how recording an experience (and knowing that we are recording it) might change the experience itself. In the first post of this thread, I would like to ask for the thoughts of people who regularly record experiences  as they happen in more or less effortful and reflective ways. Examples of such people include but are not limited to livebloggers, photographers, journalists, camerapersons and Twitterers.

If you are someone who regularly records experience, please add a comment or post a tweet (use #blmem) which answers one or more of the following questions:

  1. Do you believe that your recording of an experience impairs or enhances your awareness of and engagement with the experience? Why / how?
  2. Do you believe that your memory of the experience is richer or poorer for having recorded the experience? In what ways?
  3. Do you ever prefer not to record? Why?

Comments from people who choose not to record experiences are also welcome.

From Twitter


  1. I often record my kids concerts but feel I cannot concentrate fully on enjoying the moment for trying to capture it! Always good to look back on tho and enjoy over and over again!

  2. Thanks Rachel. Are you recording mostly for yourself or for others (e.g. your kids)? Does that affect your concentration (e.g. because you feel pressure to make a good recording if it’s going to be judged)?

  3. I take a video of the children playing from time to time, or a photo if its something cute, to put it up on Facebook. I like the experience of others commenting on it or liking it after the fact. I dont think it makes me feel less present in the moment, if anything it makes me feel more appreciative of the moment because it feels worth of a post. Then when I get some likes later on it makes me appreciate the moment in memory even more. Sometimes I then will look back at the photo and miss some nuance of expression that i didn’t see before. An example, Georgia and I went to see Madagascar 3 yesterday, her first trip to a cinema. It was just me and her having some quality time alone together. We both had a great time and on the way home I took a picture of us both on the train and posted it up to FB. I showed Georgia what i was doing and it was cute and a memento of our day. I liked it when friends ‘Like’ it or make comments. I do find that later in the day i am probably not quite as present in the moment, because I am often thinking ‘I wonder if anyone has posted any other comments about my post’ Hope this post is helpful to your study, just trying to be honest about my experience.

  4. Thanks David, that is a useful perspective on how recording and the thinking around recording can affect lived experience. It sounds like this sort of recording has a predominantly social function rather than being mostly about preserving the memory (although I’m sure that factors in too). Social media seem to provide a way of bringing personal experiences into a more collective or social sphere.

    It did make me wonder if, as well as being appreciative of the moment, you were engaging with this lived experience as a potential recording or document that could be used socially. Would you agree with that?

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