Why Your Good Times Need Designated Documentarians

You know the guy or gal who likes taking photos or videos of everything? There’s one in every crowd. That’s me.

One of my favorite ways to add value to a social gathering is to take time to document the sights and sounds. When I’m having a good time with people, I take on the job of capturing the fun so we can remember back to it fondly. We have designated drivers for nights that involve alcohol. So not have designated documentarians?

I agree with the modern critics that people spend too much time taking photos for their Instasnaps and Snapgrams and whatnot. Too many people miss the full experience of the amazing concert because they’re watching it from their phones. People want to have fun and enjoy themselves. They don’t need to be messing with their phones and stressing about whether they’ll be able to remember the epic moments.

On the other hand, people tend to miss out on documenting many of the intangible elements of their experiences. Podcaster and author Tim Ferriss once related how his mother took notes for him on his experiences in Japan as a young exchange student (who didn’t bother to journal or record many memories). Years later, Ferriss remembers Japan significantly more clearly because of the initiative his mother took to document.

Captured memories like the ones Ferriss’s mother recorded actually help us to concretize our memories better and, in so doing, to experience each moment making up our pasts as fuller and longer things.

Finally, I’m with Gary Vaynerchuk that the best way to build a brand is to document and not create. Why not let someone else help you build your personal story and brand? Every fun or interesting or inspiring moment you capture can help to establish you as someone who is fun or interesting or inspiring.

As Vaynerchuk has also noted, documentation has the effect of prompting more interesting behavior. It’s true. You’re more likely to get up and dance if you’re consciously aware of the fact that your dancing is going to be in a video. You’re more likely to try the new restaurant if you’ll be writing a blog post about your night.

Convinced? Next time you go out or host a reunion or go on an adventure or work a late night, appoint yourself the designated documentarian and do all your friends/colleagues/family a favor. Take photos, write blog posts, make vlogs and slideshows and videos. If you make your friends the stars of a great story, you’ll all love your experience more.

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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