A busy week and increasing discomfort with some of the aspects of the online world has me taking a break this week. I have a story for next week, Monday, so please bear with me for now.
As I lay on the couch last night, exhausted, contemplating my obsession with the color grey, I began to realize just how much distrust I have for social media. I know. I have said this here before. I have written openly about it. I have grouched about it and felt awful about it and at times asked myself ‘why can’t I be like everyone else? Why can’t I follow the crowd?’
Which is ridiculous because the truth is I would never want to be like everyone else. I’ve never cared about popularity or following any crowd.
Social media is not for everyone. It’s not really the place for deeply sensitive people. Maybe the sensitive who can market their sensitivity and parlay it into a shtick of 25K plus followers. Or for those who can ‘play it’.
It’s ‘noisy’. Overstimulating. And ‘they’ own you in many regards. Control your existence there rewarding proper social media etiquette with the treat of visibility.
Of course, the majority of people on social media would challenge me forcefully about this (you might too) or dismiss me as a contrarian. Dismiss away. If someone who thinks for themselves and cringes at the thought of ‘having to conduct my business by spending a considerable amount of my valuable time growing followers, jumping up and down about my ‘product’ and losing my individuality to an algorithm’, can be described using that term, then so be it.
Over the years, I’ve experimented. Tried to see if I could make it work using all the bells and whistles and tricks of the trade. It was awful. And felt unbearably fake. That type of garb does not look good on me. But bravo for those who fit the uniform. I prefer looser clothing.
My thoughts about this topic are not random. They are as a result of extensive research, observation, experience and ideas such as mass formation (the study of how individual behavior is influenced by group behavior). A nutshell statement and the tip-tip-tip of the iceberg. Belgian Professor of Clinical Psychology at Ghent University, Dr. Mattais Desmet, expands on this with the deep dive of a forensic scientist. And notwithstanding, social media behavior modification as outlined with great accuracy and honesty by Jaron Lanier.
Had I not experienced both states briefly (yet intensely) I would not be here writing this. But I have painful first hand knowledge. I found myself sucked into the black hole of expectation, adoration and make believe. I don’t like the impact the journey has had on me.
As always, this is my opinion. No one has to accept, reflect or agree with me. If I required that, I would not be re-evaluating my need to continue.
Maybe this is why I closed my Etsy shop (that’s another story, about dictatorship) and opened the shop here. And why I’m feeling more inclined to write the blog. I’m basically posting my life’s work. It’s a process unconnected to outcomes. People can come and go as they wish. There are no expectations. No facades. I think it’s great when literature or any art form helps us connect. That’s all I ever wanted. To connect. To find common ground through stories or opinions.
PS…apologies about the jinormous photo at the top. I tried to make it smaller but it seems to have a mind of its own. See. Technology!