When I arrived on the island of Tahiti and disembarked the eight and half hour flight from Los Angeles, I was unsure of how I would approach my blog posts required for my class in social media. The first day, at the Intercontental Tahiti Hotel, I realized that my senses had been awoken and I felt both a familiarity and comfort, having returned for the fifth time to this island paradise. I thought about the first sensation that had enveloped my senses – the sense of smell. I was again experiencing the scent of the tiare, the official flower of French Polynesia, through the leigh placed around my neck as a sign of welcome. I knew where I was immediately and realized that I knew this scent, a scent unique to the adventures and sensations that I have not experienced through any of my other travels.
How could one share this sense of smell through social media? Surely there are senses that can be shared through social media – sight and sound coming to mind – but I would only be able to describe the sweetness of this pungent flower and no one would be able to understand the feelings the tiare evoked in my soul. Even though the world has seemed to become smaller through the proliferation of the internet and the ability to instantaneously share experiences, the sensation that I felt was unique to my situation and unable to be replicated. I have read of devices which can be attached to a smart telephone to simulate the smell of bacon, but could this device truly capture the sensation of emotions that I felt? Would future social media applications be able to create the sensations that I was feeling? As new technologies are developed, maybe the heavy dampness of saltwater spray, the sweetness of the tiare, or the sensuality of fresh fruit will be a part of our everyday lives through social media. We’ll see – or rather smell.
I will approach future blog postings on this journey through the exploration of the other four senses – sight, touch, sound, and taste. Will I really be able to come back to these experiences without leaving my home in Minneapolis?