Social Media, Art, and Creating Distance Between the Two
“Social Media Art.”
…No thanks. I’ve gotten kind of tired of it.
To be truthful, this post is going to talk more about my recent social media experience relevant to my mental health, and less about being an artist on social media. I’m writing this article because I am planning to remove Twitter and Instagram from my phone, and focus more time on creative output and high-quality creative input. Maybe this break will be permanent, maybe it won’t be.
See, the way I think about my life, I remember being much happier as an artist and as a person before I started fooling around on Instagram and Twitter. Though, I used to use deviantArt and Tumblr, and I still suffered from the same problems on those platforms as I do now.
Having said that, I remembered that the less I was playing with in the way of distractions, the more I was actually doing as an artist.
Now, don’t get me wrong, you can get to meet and get to know incredible people with the help of the internet, not matter how you decide to use the internet. I met my wife and my best friends because of Facebook.
But “Social media art” is not a phenomenal concept to really fiddle with. Social media will expose you to really cool artists, and you will have the opportunity to really learn and be inspired, but you have to be careful. Jack Dorsey, Mark Zuckerberg, and the rest of their ilk make a lot of money by designing their apps to be incredibly difficult to unstick yourself from as a consumer over against as a producer.
Just being a consumer, frankly, makes me sick to my stomach.
Youtube was/is one thing, particularly in the way of people making a lot of great longform content that added to your life, whether the way of education, comedy, great group gameplay experiences, or just flatly putting effort into something.
Twitter and Instagram, as I’ve messed with them these past few years, have not been additive experiences to my time on the Internet. I feel like they have made me a worse person with a worse life, speaking in a net sense.
As I’ve played the game of social media art, I feel like I have had less time for the things that inspired me in the first place. There’s a lot of reasons to not spend a lot of time as a consumer, but there are stories I don’t get to experience, people I fail to make time for, and study that I don’t get to accomplish, all because I am giving my life away to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, whether intentional or no.
I used to play games with my friends and call them regularly. I remember this distinctly, and I genuinely believe that I am not that much more busy now that I used to be. I’ve just given up too much time to things that are flatly not worth my time, and I am suffering for it.
Admittedly, I may not be operating on a perspective of the “proper” use of social media, and maybe there’s something I’m going to miss out on, but to a certain extent I kind of don’t care anymore. I want to advance in this life as a man and as an artist, and social media simply does not feel like an aid to that goal anymore.
I don’t like playing the game of social media art. But I do like making things, and trying to help other people. I can’t get to the place if I never make anything anymore. I want to write more articles, draw more things, teach at more events, and talk more with people. I remember when I did an event in Kalamazoo last year, and I had a very good time! I helped a lot of people, and I got to meet a phenomenal dynamic mix of folks.
I will not be able to advance in my craft if I fail to give it time, and I will never be able to help another person if I fail to give them time.
This is all very personal, admittedly, and it may not apply so much to your own situation, but the temptation of social media is that it is a tool that will grant you everything you want. And sometimes it can actually do that. But there’s a lot of work, a lot of time, and in some cases, a crisis of mental health that is never discussed when it comes to trying to play a game that flatly isn’t for everyone.
Even now as I am writing, my hand wants to grab my phone and thumb through Twitter. I don’t like that. As of right now, I want to write this article, kick Twitter and Instagram off my phone, deal with any withdrawals, and then return to my life. Return to talking to people, playing the video games I like, seeing cool shows and movies, and coming back and making cool things because I’m not flushing down all my energy on social apps. I want to live a life I can be happier participating in because I’m not giving it away for nothing anymore.
This life is a beautiful thing we have. Don’t throw it all away on your phone.
If you’ve found me on social media, and that’s where we’ve been hanging out, please don’t take this to mean that I don’t want to talk to you anymore. I would love to still have our relationship, just to have it away from social media, and to transfer it somehow to a more direct line.
Whether you’re an old friend or someone new, please get in touch. We can exchange email, or get hooked up on Discord.