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Is Gen Y Living Life Through a Camera Lens?

04/29/2014 10:49 am ET | Updated Jun 29, 2014
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This post originally appeared on Unwritten.

Does having over 12,000 tweets notched up on my Twitter account and nearly 3,000 pictures on my Instagram make me completely self-obsessed, or just keen to document my time on this crazy roller coaster called life?

Armed with my iPhone, you can guarantee I'll take a snap of everything and anything that is even remotely photo-worthy. Why? I don't really know. I usually justify my tourist-like behavior as a form of memory-making, but let's face it; are my children really going to care that I had tuna frittatas and sweet potatoes for my dinner?

Surely, I'm not the only person who is regularly torn between making the most of every moment and making sure I remember every moment, caught between living life through a camera lens and appreciating the action as it unfolds right in front of my eyes?

At V Festival last summer, I forced myself to keep my camera buried deep inside my bag during Queen Bey's startling performance. I figured I should actually just watch her performance, with her strutting her stuff to Single Ladies and dutty wining all over the place. That way, I could focus solely on enjoying the moment I saw my idol perform live, in person, in front of me (a moment that I doubt will ever happen again), instead of getting frustrated at the tall man who would conveniently stand in front of me and block the view of my camera lens. Let's face it, how many hundreds and thousands of videos are there of Queen Bey flinging her hair around on the Internet, anyway?

So, I resisted the urge, and guess what? It was hard. It was like my camera had a mind of its own, screaming, "Film this," from the bottom of my bag, "Capture it so you can watch it back when you're feeling sad, capture it so you can swamp your Instagram with proof that will make your followers green-eyed with envy! Capture it so you can tweet everyone and let them know how incredible she was." Every time my hand wandered towards my bag in a bid to grab my camera and hit "record," I reminded myself that in a moment as special as that one, a photo or a video never does it justice, anyway. It doesn't encapsulate what was going on around you, the smell, the sound or the truth behind that moment. As I stood in that muddy field, the rain pouring down on my face, for the first time, I didn't spoil the moment by watching through a camera lens. I just soaked up every ounce of the atmosphere.

As much of an Instagram lover/addict/fan I am, I wish I could care less about having proof of all that I have seen, done and experienced, and instead care more about emerging myself in real life. Photos are like therapy for me, though; they act as a reminder and a reflection of all that we have done. How often do you get so caught up in the day-to-day trials of life that you forget what you were doing this time last week, last year or even further back? Time passes by so quickly that a moment may only seem valuable once you look back on it with the warmth and nostalgia you get from a photo.

So while some moments, like Beyoncé performing right in front of me, will call for a no camera-intervention, I wouldn't change my snap-happy habits for the world. Having the faces of people you love surrounding you, pinned on your bedroom walls or your cyber ones (Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook) will do nothing but inspire you to continue with whatever dream or journey it is you are pursuing. It will motivate you to relish in the special relationships that you have at home or have discovered at college before the moment passes.

College is the time to take too many photos, laugh at the memories; be sure to make sure you don't stop making those memories when you leave. And, if anyone doesn't appreciate your desire to document your fabulous life, be sure to tell them to share their unwanted opinion with the "unfollow" button.

Georgia writes for Unwritten. Georgia studies Print Journalism at University in Nottingham, you can follower her on Twitter @georgiafarq.