I am almost completely out of the social media web. I stopped using Twitter in 2017 and I ditched my Snapchat account in 2018. I don't interface with Facebook a ton but keep it around to stay connected to groups I am in. The one that I've struggled the most to disengage with is THE GRAM, duh.
((super thought provoking drawing by my teacher, Mark O'Bryan))
As a creative, it has always been so awesome to curate my photos, have the perfect personality describing feed, and share my experiences + knowledge of all my passions. I have always strived to be the most genuine version of myself always doing what I WANT. It's been through curating an awesome feed, I've been able to curate a pretty awesome life, and vice versa. I've always been aware of the people who "Do it for the Gram" and with this awareness, I try to be on the other side. When traveling or dressing or recording myself, I do it, again, because I WANT to. Each of these things make me who I am, and I have been (hate to use this word) *obsessed with displaying who I am on the gram. I've made connections to some great friends through the site and hopefully inspired some along the way. It's great to feel like people see you for you and by showing that through images and writing, I've always craved the next best way to do that. To express myself and show to my followers what I do and how I do what makes me, me.
But this has came with alotttttttttt of thinking; My weekly screen time reports of 6 hours daily on my phone, feeling frustrated when the strange things I have loved for a super long time is now the mainstream and everyone's doing it (never been my jam), the feeling of being so open and having everyone in your business all the time, trying to show people everything I eat, see, think and everything I do... it all just becomes too much. I pour sooo much time into IG, because yes, I love it and I love my friends. But there's a world outside of our cellphones and when I take a step back I ask myself, what am I getting from this? Here's a quick list of what I get:
What IG gets from me:
1/4 of my hours in a day.
All my picturesque moments and best parts of my day
My information, all my interests, and convos I have.
Credit for the things we do to push it to other people, without credit
What I get from IG:
A space to briefly interact with friends
Screen time for 1/4 of my day
A place to look at lots of cool shit
A place to look at lots of not cool shit
And yeah, the list could definitely go on. I've just felt connected to my feed. I've been using Instagram consistently since 2012. I have watched it change drastically over the years, just like me. It holds the best photo album I could have ever imagined of myself and I use it to go back and reminisce my time. Considering we don't have photo books these days, I have depended on IG to be the best of my best memories. So doing something radical like erasing that has always just seemed tooooo hard. I've never been ready. But it hasn't stopped me from thinking and I have known there has to be a solution.
My longest detox was a month in the desert. I used that time to fully disconnect and it was magical. Of course, I was surrounded by the most amazing people and work I could ever dream of, so pouring all my time and intention into that wasn't hard. I knew I would be returning to the screen in the real world, so I barely even thought of IG the whole time. I didn't photograph as much because my phone would often stay in my dwelling, and I was just there, as present as I could be. It was easy because everyone was doing it. The screens were not in control and I was so happy to feel that. Not only in myself but the other's around me.
I returned and needed to share some of my experience. I had just had the most riveting, awesome adventure ever and I wanted my friends to know immediately. Log onto IG, boom... my friends know immediately. Each post is a double edged sword. 1. they have talking points and things to ask about. 2. they've already read the post so its less interesting when I am face to face to talk about it. Agh, more contradictions. If I post less will it make my in person interactions more exciting or do I need to post more so people realllllly understand me?
My fall semester of grad school was hectic. Working like crazy on lots of cool projects and pouring my heart into my Master's Interiors Thesis work. I used IG all throughout the semester and, again, felt really connected to my friends. After the Burn, I feel I know myself even better, feel even more genuine in my content, and more personable and ready to communicate. But I crave human interaction. Dancing with friends, having delicious meals together, doing things in real time, special to me and whoever I am with... not the screen.... not the snapchat.... no, none of that.
I spent my winter break back home in EKY. I played in the hills most days, writing about my art and visions, binging Schitt's Creek with my perfect momma, chilling with my animals, and playing Sims. It was phenomenal. Self care, no expectations, and the feeling of being planted at home. Not something I was constantly feeling the need to share but something that felt so right and nurturing to my soul.
And along comes a new decade. Soooo much shit online about new decade, new choices... everyone is going to be a better person because it's 2020 and blah blah blah. I do believe in New Years intentions, but they're personal. They're to write on little notes that surprise you in places you least expect, to curate mantras to whisper to yourself on the mat, to share around the dinner table and with friends when they need to hear it, and they're made for YOU. Your intentions are not mine and vice versa. We don't need to post and post and share and share to validate ourselves. Yes, maybe to inspire other's and share with them our ways of existing, but less telling everything, because that leaves no room for other's to be creative. I have never wanted to shell out copies of myself in other people, I just want others to find themselves. I've shared the ways I work to do that for me, but I am me and that's no one else's job, so telling them to do exactly what I do, doesn't really help either person involved. This digital age feels like so many carbon copies and repeats of everything. Every super famous star copies artist's ideas that not many people know, media shoves so many ads in our faces we just buy, buy, buy, give, give, give them everything. The new decade needs to be about change, no doubt.
My change is realizing how to exist in two places at once. Digital life and physical life. I imagine it being the theme of the whole decade because this digital life is just getting started. There is no avoiding it. I love the digital and I love the physical. But how can I exist in both to be the best version of myself.
A. IG has to go. Maybe not forever, maybe I'll come back. But I am letting the account I have had for 8 years go and going to stay off of it until I forget what it's like to be connected. I'm going to take a back seat and let social media do it's thing right now and give it time to get it's shit together. I don't have time to waste 6 hours of my day in that kind of chaos.
How am I doing it? For someone addicted to the Gram? Turn it into an art project, duh.
There is an amazing button in the settings of your IG to email yourself your entire feed. Comments, captions, pictures. The day I received that email was my first step to unplugging. Now I personally own all of this stuff, what should I do? I have a couple ideas of preservation and will of course share them here when I act on one.
To sum it up, I always wanted my feed to encourage people to chase their dreams. If you love something, do it. Be interested, go after everything you can to get you "in" the know of the topics. I would be lying if I said IG didn't influence a lot of the things I am passionate about, or at least educate me to some degree of all of the possibilities out there. I've loved my time there and often, felt super validated through the connections I have with people because they enjoy what I put on the screen. But it's my time to go. I'm parting with the interface to a whole part of my life. But it's just a fucking social media site and life will go on. I imagine it will narrow my circle, show me who is connected to me because they actually care, and find ways to share my life with others outside of posts to "followers". I don't want "followers" I want people to hold hands with and to dance together. No one needs to follow, they've got their own uniqueness that the physical world is dying to foster. Take it off the screen and into action. HELLO HUMANS, EW YOUR PLANET IS GROSS.