Recently I had a conversation with someone near and dear to me when I verbalized a bunch of ideas about social media that I had apparently been dwelling on. They were thought provoking. Here are my observations...
I recently took a month long sabbatical from all social media. It was extremely refreshing. I highly recommend it to anyone that has the balls to attempt it. I'd come home and put my phone down at night and not look at it. I engaged with my family more. I didn't flick to a social media feed everytime I got stumped on a project in the office. I hung out with people IRL. I cherished life more. It was... well, it was awesome.
And while on this sabbatical I noticed several things. There's a term, FOMO (fear of missing out) that is typically related to social media addiction (and putting my daughter to bed at night). Not wanting to miss out on anything. Worried that life is going by without you. But I realized that that is not actually an issue for me. I've lived a pretty fucking full life. I've travelled the world, done fucked up things, almost killed myself way too many times to mention. I could write a pretty interesting book if I ever found the time to do it. So, that being said, I don't fear missing out on much of anything. I've probably already done the equivalent or better. If anything, for myself and others that I've talked to, the real issue should be titled FONB (fear of not broadcasting). I found that as I was walking through life, anything and everything interesting that I saw or experienced triggered a pavlovian response to SHARE. Take a photo of it. Type down an observation. Record that video. Post it, post it, post it!
That was weird.
No longer did I just absorb the moment for what it was. I didn't cherish the instance before it flickered by. My initial reaction was to show it off to the world and start a conversation about it online. Man, I'll be the first to admit, that's ass backwards.
I wondered how long that feeling, that knee jerk reaction, would take to pass. It was really lodged deep. It was twitchy. It took almost my entire month away from social media before I stopped reacting like that.
And when I returned to social media at the beginning of January, I found myself repulsed by everything. I no longer wanted to read a feed full of jokes, food, another pretty sunset, a witty observation. Most everything one reads or posts in their feed means nothing to them 24 hours later. There's no true depth to it. What's the point of reading it? What's the point of repeatedly tickling one's brain with superficial entertainment?
I'm an artist. For better or for worse. My life is spent creating, pondering creating, procrastinating about creating, pretending to get inspired about creating, etc, etc, you get the point. And all of those social media feeds (in addition to my regular tech/gaming/art news feeds) are just wasting away small bits of my life. It's like somebody stabbing me with tiny little daggers. You only have so many minutes on this planet. Wasting any of that time is like being stuck in traffic, it is killing you.... slowly. Very, very slowly. Bleeding you out with tiny little microscopic daggers (credit to Mr. Rollins for that brilliant metaphor).
So if I am going to engage in some sort of social media feed then I want it to inspire me. Everything in that feed better be righteous. And authentic. And make me want to create more. And that's it.
Coinciding with this realization was me questioning wether or not I could run a business in this age and not maintain a social media presence. Or if I could maintain a business presence but not get tangled up in the minutiae of my personal feeds.
I think the answer to that first question is no. Social Media might as well be the roll up door on a brick and mortar store. If you don't open the door you're effectively closing your business off from the public. Not sure how I feel about that but that's the truth of it.
So what do I do about all of this? If I am going to be engaged with social media where do I want to be? Facebook recently changed the algorithm for their business pages and crippled interaction with my fans unless I pay for it. Stupid Facebook. My personal Facebook feed is so full of meaningless crap I don't know where to start. I've begun trimming down my Instagram feed to only truly inspiring followers. I don't really use Twitter.
But Ello... I'm not sure what it is exactly about ello but there's something very refreshing here. It just feels healthy. Not everyone I know is on it but that's okay. My posts tend to be more longwinded than anywhere else. I enjoy sharing the elements behind my creations here. I enjoy the art and reading posts of others that I follow here. It really is more of an artist hangout I suppose. I'm not scrolling through an endless feed of sunset, or burrito or funny baby pics. I'm seeing and reading art. I'm enjoying what I see. It's inspiring.
I may not be on here every day, I may not post that often, but I truly think there's something really interesting gestating here.