Social Lite

Don’t worry; nobody’s watching.
Image: Christa Wittmier

The night the pictures died

Darkness. For a lot of people (myself included) that’s a scary thing. I still remember the night I became afraid of the dark. My mom mistakenly took my sister and me to see some scary werewolf film, thinking it was a comedy. I hid, crying, in the back of her station wagon as we drove from the theater, and begged her to leave our bedroom light on when we went to sleep that night. Honestly, I still get a little freaked out when I have to walk through total darkness. During the great Honolulu blackout of 2008, I was on my way into Chinatown when the city went dark. I had a big birthday party planned at The Loft, so you can imagine the disappointment. Once we accepted the fact that the power wasn’t coming back on anytime soon, I was getting text-ambushed that Bar 35 was going candle-lit and cash-only, the only place in town that decided to stay open. Quickly, crews from other bars and clubs, excited to have an unexpected Friday night off, piled into the romantically lit bar. I remember all of the staff from Pearl Ultralounge ordering repeated rounds and Jesse Savio wandering around, singing and playing his acoustic guitar. We shared stories, drank and laughed, and had one of the best nights out that I can remember. It was a caught-in-a-blizzard sort of feeling, where all we had was each other. I’ll still remember it as one of my favorite birthdays ever.

I bring it all up because the first ever (and hopefully only) Instagram blackout this past Friday brought back a lot of those memories. When our favorite social network went down, it crippled hundreds of thousands of photo-sharing streamers across the world. It’s a very visual way to keep up with each other and feels more genuine than any other application that’s out right now. It’s like we can see into each other’s minds, and when your friends (or people you find interesting) decide to share what they’re up to, it’s really interesting. So not having Instagram–on a Friday night no less, especially during the incredibly well-attended G-Shock release party the In4mants did for Find Art–was torture. Art lovers, skateboarders, surfers, and some of the prettiest girls I’ve ever seen, all piled deep into Bar 35, well-lit this time, for the special event. Anton Glamb, current winner of Showdown in Chinatown, DJ’d while his New York buddies, Ninjasonik, chilled by the riser. Donnis was also there, sipping on neverending pear martinis and declaring that he was moving to Hawai’i. I totally understand why he’d want to: The vibe in the room was perfect. In fact, the worst (best?) part of all was that none of it could be shared. It was just for us to enjoy, and we did, almost as much as that night in ‘08.

Growing up in this day and age, our deeply rooted desire for acceptance and attention has been fortified by the Internet (for better or worse). It’s only going to keep improving. As long as there are people who want to know what everybody’s doing, there will be people who’ll share what they’re doing, and if we play it right, the Instagram gods will spare us another lonely night.

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