Thirty years ago, the landscape of “media” was intrusive only if you were a celebrity, a criminal, a politician, or any combination of the three. To make the matters clear, at “thirty years ago” I automatically think of the 1970’s, not the 90’s. All the same - social media did not exist.
I am in my early twenties, which means that I spent a short period of my conscious life without being advertised to a wide audience, and I have to admit - I don’t remember what it feels like. The only proof of my life offline is the absence of my mom’s “baby Instagram” for a small me, the lack of short vertical smartphone videos of my young face, and a couple of developed photos…
because why would we develop them if all the pixels could be thrown into the virtual album space.
Let’s jump ahead. It’s June of 2018, and I am fed up with the perpetual impulse to document every single exciting step I make. My instagram feed has four-hundred-and-ninety posts: lively, colorful, compositionally engaging, full of story and movement. At some point I even try to play the follower game and jump to fifteen hundred handles from all over the world.
And yet I decidedly press delete on the icon of the app, and it disappears from the screen of my old iPhone. Who could predict that I will be just as addicted to seemingly randomized news and memes even after both life-sucking apps are gone from this tiny computer I am so used to carrying around?
I don’t know that yet. So I leave a philosophical message in my saved stories:
It was not an experiment. I was genuinely tired. And - thirty-seven instagramless weeks later - I still am.
The fantastic and a bit surreal result of my quitting is that 99% of my friends from back home don’t know what I look like. They have never seen my face with no makeup, they don’t know who I’m dating (this one’s the best and the most painful - he is insanely cute), where I’m traveling, what I’m eating. They don’t even know IF I still consider them my friends, because I am done with shout-outs, tags, likes and the rest of the paraphernalia.
Come to think of it, why the fuck are all these people entitled to my daily life? The online existence is like being a magazine in the bathroom in front of the toilet - no one wants to read it, per say, but since they’re already shitting, might as well.
Speaking of, if you opened this blog while sitting on a toilet - have a good day. That's where I ingest most of my daily readings.
To wrap it up, as many visual arts professionals I am presented with an unpleasant set of options.
Option #1: stay virtually invisible and broke.
Option #2: sacrifice some privacy by creating business media accounts.
Let's go into it for a second. Option One is the true choice of an artist. If I am putting my heart into my work, it should remain as private as possible until someone discovers it - and voilà - I am in demand. It is also a true choice of someone who is self-conscious, terrified of permanently embroidering "bad work" into the virtual space, and is unsure of their identity.
Another reason for option one is that there is simply too much out there. My brain is feeling like a bird that accidentally flew into an apartment - how do I stand out? wait, why do I have to try to stand out? who will follow me? what is my style? where do I begin? what do I share and what do I keep to myself? what about millions of other accounts similar to mine?
Option Two is a true choice of an entrepreneur. If I am putting my heart into my work (notice the irony), then I should not be ashamed of it and share it with others, because the easiest way to discover someone's work is through social media. Yes, there are millions of accounts. So were there millions of artists throughout history, and by staying off social media you are not becoming any more unique. It is better to put something out there and learn, than hide.
Needless to say, I am stepping over my irrelevant shame and going with the latter option. I open the App Store, find the correct icon, press download, log in, new account, name, avatar, phone number...
Hello there. Let's see what happens to you, @zabarafilm.