I'm too involved with social media this summer. I'm not enjoying myself as could and days are running away while I scroll through Twitter. I gave up NPR because I couldn't avoid the incessant reporting of the orange maggot, but I haven't held social media to that same standard. Instead, I'm engaging in low discourse, staying angry, and dividing myself from others. I pick at the scab til it bleeds despite good advice to the contrary.
Life often favors and rewards the brash and outspoken. When I was a geologist and started my first job (with a large corporation that shall remain nameless) I was told that being quiet and reserved wouldn’t cut it if I wanted to move up the ladder, that quality of work alone wasn’t enough. It would seem that applies to the art world as well. Rampant self-promotion and the production of trendy 500px.com style imagery is the rule for many, and it gets noticed because it often showcases outstanding natural phenomena unfolding in beautiful locations. In this age of social media and competition the quest for popularity is a goal of many. A recent issue of Shutterbug magazine trumpeted the goal of amassing a huge number of followers on Instagram. Likes and followers are not rewards worth attaining. Produce honest, quality work that is a true reflection of you as an individual and the rewards will be far greater. (emphasis mine)
The quest for popularity reminds me of high school when popularity was beyond me. I lacked the looks, likability, understanding of the rules, and daring. I abandoned that quest. Instead, I created myself as I hoped would be for the best. I got into semi-obscure music, read books, made friends that fit and challenged me, and found my way. It hasn't lead to fame or fortune, but I've found happiness and a sense of the world more in line with Chris Murray than Kylie Jenners. Thank God.
If that wasn't convincing enough, Jaron Lanier has written Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now. It is convincing.
I also notice that the friends I most respect use social media sparingly if at all while the friends about whom I have more doubt are on social media all the damn time. I don't like thinking about where I've been on that spectrum.
All that and I'm not writing.
This blog is the first I've ever paid to host and promoted with a newsletter. It's an investment in my writing. I often promote the blog on Facebook and Twitter to "drive traffic," but it doesn't do much. Still, I stick with social media believing I have to despite the lack of results. Even I hear the insanity in that. Social media doesn't grow my audience but I'm on social media to grow my audience. Ridiculous.
I also stay on social media out of fear and obligation. I fear disconnecting, missing something, living without the feed even though it mostly makes me mean.
All of which points to the obvious solution as said so often on Twitter: Delete your account.
I'm getting closer to that, but for now I'll try abstinence. I won't go on social media today except to winnow the list of people I follow and friend. Yet, even as I say that, I'm drawn to the feed. The habit, the addiction is strong. All the more reason.
For now, this is goodbye to social media. Please forgive me if I unfollow or unfriend you. It's not you, it's not me, it's social media and I'm sick of the S & M of it all.
I'm glad you read this and would love to hear from you. Drop me a line at brianfay at gmail. Nothing will go viral, but we'll at least connect.