I did, however, branch into Instagram, thinking that since it was a photo-based platform, it would be a much better experience. I was wrong. While the drama was much less, the falseness of the platform weighed heavily on my shoulders. I'd like to say I don't care about likes and followers, but deep down, I'd find myself wondering why an image I was particularly proud of didn't perform as well as another image I had posted earlier. I then found myself starting to "conform" to instagram-friendly images, leaving me hollow and unsatisfied in my creative pursuits. I stumbled along for a little while longer, getting frustrated with the "newsfeed" that decided for me what I could see instead of showing exactly those I selected to follow. Frustrated with sponsored posts, uninspired by the lack of genuine art, and noticing the silencing of unique voices, I then finally called it quits on the platform.
Not long after, I find that I'm not the only photographer or artist getting fed up with the social media and internet siren call that would dash any creative spark to its death against its rocky cliffs.
Three other blog posts by artists I admire and follow have come along in the past few weeks explaining why they, too, have left social media. A few reasons social media and the internet are an obstacle to our goals are:
- death of creativity
- a false sense of popularity
- lack of genuine connection
- lack of engagement in real life
- a sense of being caught between two worlds, never fully participating in one
- not being present in the moment
- constant distraction
- overwhelmed with stimuli
- over saturated with images
- becoming jaded about photography/art
- subconsciously being influenced by popular work
- not being true to your own art/vision
- overwhelmed with the amount of hateful comments
- losing faith in humanity
- dealing with stalkers
- feeling paranoid
My desire to create an image waned the more I was on social media, too. I wasn't creating work that was unique to me. I would want to create something, but then think, why bother, someone else has probably already photographed or painted it. It is an extremely jaded thought-process brought about by too much stimulation/imagery overload of the internet and social media.
If the internet and social media went away tomorrow, would I still be driven to create imagery? The answer is yes. Long before the internet, I was an artist and photographer. I will continue to be one without social media. I started with film photography and I have returned to film photography. It is tangible. It is hands-on, and it doesn't rely in an instant snap in order to post to a bunch of strangers in some desperate bid for false popularity.