This is why you need a 360-degree camera

I have a big family, with a good number of us all living in the same town. Four generations of us in Pensacola, in fact. My grandparents. My parents. My in-laws. Myself and one of my two brothers. My two kids. Three dogs. And while we see each other throughout the week, we generally get together for lunch most Sundays. (Yes, it's also like herding cats. Every. Single. Week. But that's part of the fun of it all.)

This past Sunday was a little different. It was Mother's Day. And while I'm generally not all that sentimental for made-up holidays (and nothing will make you wish you were better to your mom than becoming a parent), there's something especially great about having three generations of moms around one table.

So, out came the 360-degree camera.

For all of the crap that Facebook spews, one of its redeeming qualities is the ability to give families an easy way to keep up with each other. And 360-degree cameras make it easy to keep up with what everyone is doing at a given time, all at once. So my grandparents' other kids can see their brother and their parents together, around the rest of us. My mom's siblings and far-away friends get to see what her kids look like, all in the same place. My friends get to see that my father no longer has the lone sweet beard in the family. My in-laws' friends get to see the crazy family they hang out with.

Prices will fall. Quality will improve. And sharing will get easier.

The 360-degree camera sees it all, and it sees it all at once.

We're just getting started with this stuff, of course. The first personal 360-degree cameras are only now becoming available. (I'm using the LG 360 CAM, still.) Prices will fall. Quality will improve. And sharing 360-degree video and pictures will get even easier. (Facebook and YouTube are great for video; Flickr is best for photos.)

This is one of those areas in which the possibilities are endless. Meetings. Family-get-togethers. Security and accountability. (A 360-degree camera mounted on top of emergency vehicles, instead of forward-facing dashcams, could change a lot of things.) Vloggers who chronicle their days are going to be all over these things. Google's basically going to turn everyone into a Street View car. (I've been uploading 360-degree shots all over town.)

Happy Mother's Day with @snickinson @rubyslippercafe #Pensacola!

Being able to see everything can be distracting. It is, perhaps, not as artistic.

These new "see everything" cameras can't and shouldn't take the place of traditional photography and videography, of course. Being able to see everything can be distracting. It is, perhaps, not as artistic. Not as mysterious. And perhaps the supper table isn't the most elegant of places to see everything. (Especially while eating corn.)

But there certainly are times when you want to be able to capture all angles of what's going on around you. When the family comes together, especially. And don't just wait for Mother's Day to make it happen.

Phil Nickinson