It's not just the photos, check-ins and videos that can be a source of ire
"Put your phone away," said the person who feels the moment is right to intervene and save their phone addicted friend, just seconds after parting with their own device.
Here's the problem when it comes to addressing the public obsession with the online sphere. Whenever someone does it, they tend to speak as if they're not victims of it themselves, as if they're immune from it all.
And now they've descended from on high to save us all by dispensing their remedies from a space unspoiled by those online evils. Well, let's take them at their word. Maybe they are the last of a dying breed of traditionalists. Maybe they've repelled some of the trends and by extension of that, they feel a bit more empowered than the rest of us peasants who can't fight the urges.
But what about the abundance of selfies they've posted or the rare one that's strategically posted to attract the most online traffic? The check-ins? The photos from your recent holiday with the filter applied? The multiple tweets/statuses about an event as it's happening? Can you truly say you've never indulged in any of these?
Me: ight Ima put the phone down it's late— Fried Turkey Leg (@Arthursalvadorr) November 20, 2016
Me: u didn't even refresh the TL tho pic.twitter.com/QuaVxmuANO
If the answer is 'yes' then that's great, I hope the air tastes nice and sweet up there on the moral high ground. But the reality is that we all do something online that aggravates others who feel we ought to be living in the moment at the same time they are.
But for some inexplicable reason, those who feel inclined to take a video at an event, seem to be the ones who tend to provoke the preachers.
Why? What crime have they committed that eclipses all the other annoying online activities?
Let's consider those who live tweet games instead of giving their uninterrupted attention to it. I myself, am a regular online commentator when sports events are unfolding and if that confession makes you tut, well then kindly hit the unfollow button and I'll proceed to pick up the pieces of my broken heart.
My most recent offence occurred on Saturday. Call the archbishop to give me my last rites.
That try can be traced back to Zebo's tackle to keep the play in Australia's 22 when our backs were to the wall. #irevaus— Sinead Farrell (@Shin_Farrell) November 26, 2016
When Simon Zebo made that charge at Michael Hooper in the second half of Ireland's Test against Australia, I felt compelled to reach for my phone. In 100 characters, I decreed it a pivotal moment in the game, which brought Australia's purple patch to a halt and reclaimed the momentum for the home side.
Ireland were working through the phases, trying to cultivate a path to Australia's try-line. Anticipation was palpable and hope of another scalp for Ireland against a Southern Hemisphere heavyweight was growing. And yet there I was, frantically tapping out the golden nugget forming in my head before some other chump beat me to it. Meanwhile, the action was carrying on without me and I only had the noise of the crowd coming through the TV speakers to keep me abreast of proceedings.
Image: Simon Zebo brings Michael Hooper down to spark Ireland back into life
Am I the only one who does that? Absolutely not. Are those Tweets adding anything to the experience that's happening? Invariably, no. But what harm?
People taking videos and pictures at sports events are equally guilty of the same compulsive action but at least their gaze is at least aimed in the direction of the pitch. Sure, the quality of their content is poor but they're less likely to miss a significant moment in the game.
Those with their heads stooped, immersed in their hashtag musings, may as well be following the garbage being pushed along the ground by the breeze. By the way, I'm aware that videos/pictures have to peel their eyes away from the match to write a description before posting it, so don't bother pointing that out.
More often than not, the person posting the video does that only once during the game. They might return to monitor the number of likes and comments it accumulates but they generally leave it at that. The online commentators tend to be multiple offenders. Posting one statement followed by an update, followed by a remark about a particular player who is either failing or excelling. And then comes the postmortem analysis.
It's your own phone and you're free to express whatever opinion you like, provided it's tasteful and inoffensive. But why is all the fury being localised on those who want to capture the moment as it is, as opposed to trying to improve it with their words. Journalists get paid for typing up their composed insights after the game while you're doing it for free while simultaneously depriving yourself of the live event.
There's also the 'whoops-I-spoke-too-soon' statements posted as a means of exonerating themselves from making a premature prediction that is undone by the play that follows. Go figures, the game isn't over yet, meaning you're always at risk of tweeting too soon.
In any case, we're all guilty of scrolling on our phones during sports events regardless of whether or not there's evidence of it on one's newsfeed. Effectively, those who are condemning the self-appointed photographers and videographers are, in a socially acceptable way, also wasting time on their phones.