Social media was supposed to connect me with my contemporaries, instead, it separates me from them. The world I see is not a world I crave for.
Oftentimes I wonder what content would “content creators” come up with if it weren’t for food, weather, travel and hip hangouts. This is what I browse through every day. This is also what I share with you every day. I open Instagram to be inspired and the effect is the very opposite: I am bored. I bet I am boring, too. Perhaps those who do it for money are more entitled to be boring than I am, doing it for free, not interested in selling anything, not interested in promoting an image, not interested in getting likes and followers.
These are recurrent thoughts for me. They float above my head like a grey cloud. I would like to find a solution, so as to get rid of them. I guess what I am looking for is some sort of revelation.
At the shower this morning I was thinking about artists. They, too, are content creators, right? Van Gogh came to mind, then David Wojnarowicz, both important figures to me. More than the products of their creativity, what strikes me about them is how they looked at the world, led their lives, and interacted with other people – while doing their art. I wondered what they would have done with an Instagram account. Would they have taken a photo of their cup of coffee and share it? I mean, for sure they drank coffee, too. They also ate and travelled and wore clothes. Would any of these have been shared had they had social media? I dare believe not. The things they put into their bodies (food) or covered their bodies with (clothes) would have had no other purpose than a purely functional one: to keep them alive so they could focus on their art. These things would not have had a meaning per se, rather they would have served a greater purpose.
My point with social media is this exactly. There is all this content centered around process (how we look, how we eat, how we do this and that), yet nothing on result (What is the result of me dressing like that, eating that, and doing that? If there is no result, why am I sharing?).
So I am asking: what is the result? What is it that we make? We dare call it “work” and “creativity,” but of what service is it to say it’s work and how much artistic value it has to be a creation?
I was expressing more or less the same ideas with some friends over a glass of wine the other day. They believed differently: there is pleasure in the small things (the process, the how), and there is definitely a result – inspiring and making other people happy with our content. I must say I have never thought about it that way. Maybe that is because I haven’t particularly felt inspired or happy about things I’d seen on social media.
I keep on forgetting we are living in a comfort-centered world. Any depth of feeling, any questions that could expose emptiness and bring uncomfortable truths to the surface – all these have no place in our lives, let alone on social media. What we’re looking for are fuzzy illusions of a life well spent. An illusion that our life has meaning. So what if I am not contributing anything great to the world? So what if I will never put my dreams into practice because I am too scared or not talented enough? I can enjoy this sunshine falling on my slice of pie and cup of tea, and think #happinessisinthesmallthings. I’m not saying there is no happiness in there, but let’s be real: that is still just a slice of pie and that is still just a cup of tea. If anything, we should eat the pie, drink the tea, then use the energy to do something else. Use the energy to actually do something. Maybe that something would make a difference in our lives and in the lives of others.
My feeling about social media content is that it stops where it should become something. And so, I am bored because I don’t see the value. All I see is a waste of time.
Make an experiment: read something interesting, explore the creations and ideas of great people who populated this planet, get involved in meaningful relationships – with yourself and others – then go back to social media. What you will see there will not make any sense. It will appear like nothing but a void dressed up in pretty presets.
One of my greatest fears is that I will never create anything of value. I take photos I believe anyone can take, I write something I don’t even dare call a book, and I have this blog about everything and nothing. My ideas haven’t changed the world and maybe they never will. Maybe it will all be in vain. I’m going to do it regardless. Because I see no other way, because I do not want another way. I will, however, have the decency of not calling this anything. Not until it becomes something.