It’s easy to tease the influencer types. To laugh at the staged, outlandish things they do for photos. For videos. For the ‘gram. It’s painful, at times.

But the other day, here in Bali, Dana and I were reading by a river. Eventually we got hot and jumped in to cool off. It was heaven. Then we scrambled up the boulders of some flowing rapids and sat down, letting the water massage our backs. It felt wonderful, but after a few seconds we just sorta sat there, awkwardly.

We agreed we should get a picture together. So I got out, set up the time lapse on my phone, propped it up on a rock and aimed it at the rapids.

Then I climbed back up and for 5 mins we struck silly poses and kissed and slipped and flexed and laughed and waved and kissed. The moment was more fun than it would have been if we weren’t taking a picture, AND we have pics to help us relive it.

Certainly there is a middle ground between documenting your every move and never taking a photo so you can “just enjoy it, without the distraction.” But the river photos made me think that maybe the influencers are onto something. Maybe, in pursuit of staging all these “perfect moments” I’d once considered fake, they’re actually having a better time?

Maybe the joke’s been on me?