Rebelling Against Social Media
I have a hard time with social media. As an artist, the consensus is that it’s something I am supposed to use, but I find it to be a time-suck, and a huge distraction. It hasn’t made me rich yet, and I can’t tell if that’s because it won’t, or just because I’m not doing it right. (Maybe that’s how they get you!)
But deeper than that, I suspect that it has a fundamentally destructive influence on our little human minds. I can’t prove it, but I have some theories about that.
We have all our thoughts and ideas, all the time, as creative beings. In social media, we send them out in bits and pieces, and then receive back spontaneous, generally poorly thought out feedback as a reaction. It means very little to the people offering commentary, but it can mean a lot to a person who just bared some piece of their soul. The more creative, the more vulnerable a person may feel in reaction to this. That’s not good. Especially if you are sensitive and a little insecure, like many of us creative types tend to be. That doesn’t mean our work isn’t worth sharing.
At the very least, I think that channeling ones creative energy into sassy twitter witticisms absorbs that energy. It might otherwise be directed into a fuller work for a blog, publication or book. Who knows. But I think of it as handing out your creativity in bite size chunks rather than saving it up to make a larger whole.
Perhaps for other projects ongoing feedback is helpful. But the more vulnerable a person feels, the more I recommend checking in with yourself about it. Sometimes it takes really immersing yourself in your creative universe without external input.
I might easily have posted some of these thoughts in a few soundbites on Mastodon. That can be compelling, but this feels better. Among other things, those soundbites don’t last. They are seen by a couple of people, and then are lost in the mix. At least with a blog, it’s all in a list and folks can scroll through and see all of what is there. I’m not saying it’s preserved in the Library of Congress for posterity, but it’s got a longer lifespan than a tweet.
Annnnnd, Ethical and Privacy Concerns (obviously).
That all says nothing about the ethics of social media, which is hugely problematic. Surveillance Capitalism is real and Facebook (and Instagram, owned by Facebook) make money off your data. How that works is a whole ‘nother conversation, but it’s a great reason not to use social media. Mark Zuckerberg and his creepy robot smile are trying to reassure you everything is fine, all while raking in the bucks. If I sound a little bitter, sorry. This is a big social experiment playing out before our eyes, and I’m not sure history is going to look upon it fondly.
If you are going to use social media, a platform that is not based on collecting your data is a good idea. Mastodon is a great open source and federated platform (built of lots of independent servers, not all owned by one mega-corp). It integrates nicely with Pixelfed, (an up and coming image sharing site), and Peertube, (for video), and Write.As, (for blog sharing). How beautiful is that? They all are independent and play together in network. To make an actually ethical network.
By the way, some silly article posted recently about how Mastodon was crumbling, and I’d like to assure you, that is not true. On my favorite server (linuxrocks.online) it received a lot of eye-rolling and sassy comments about #crumblelyfe, #blueberrycrumble, etc. Mastodon seems livelier than ever, so those folks can just pack their bad vibes and go home. All rather silly.
Communication, however, is wonderful. I am not sure I know the right balance between using social media in a positive way and not have it manipulate us or have it negatively affect our mindspace. I guess it’s different for every person, and it’s up to you to know what’s healthy in your daily life.
Taking a Break From Social Media
For myself, I am pulling away from social media. I’ve deactivated my Facebook page, and will use Instagram minimally, only for work. Even that, I’m not sure it’s worth terribly much, so I won’t make it a priority. Give my noggin a break. We’ll see how it goes.
I am not saying we should throw away social media. It has its value. I would love to see ethical and local networks in more use. What if my town had a network that helped me find events and local info? It would be beautiful. Mastodon would work well for that, but I’d support any non-horrible option.