I posted recently about some thoughts I had on blogging as a general 'thing' (hobby, job, chore, whatever!) and I think that intrisically tied to this sense of malaise I've been feeling about blogging in general is the use of social media. A blog I really enjoyed reading, Charity Shop Gold, has shut up shop, as it were, the author, Charlotte, no longer finding any enjoyment from the act of posting online. I have to say I also contemplated doing the same.
I hate how much I have become invested in my phone. I hate to think of the hours wasted aimlessly scrolling through newsfeeds of other people. Looking at perfectly composed Instagram images. Reading witty tweets. In my previous post on this sort of topic, I mentioned how I didn't use snapchat, and I have since downloaded it. However, I don't share any snaps; my best friend and I use them to send pictures to each other using the most hideous filters possible.
I left my phone at home the other day and when I got to work without it, it was a bit of an annoyance but also stragely liberating. We become such slaves to them! Constantly looking down, replying, posting, sharing. This is not to shade anyone, of course, but I really have started to dislike that constant need to share, share, share, or it didn't happen. Make sure you take a video at every gig/festival/party so that you can post it to your Facebook and make sure everyone knows how much fun you are having. Documenting things is cool, and I'm not judging that, but when it starts to take over, it can become a problem.
I didn't post to my Instagram account for 4 days (I couldn't be bothered/was off work on holiday and wanted to read a book/didn't have anything interesting to photograph) and I lost about 10 followers. This shouldn't bother me; they were clearly people (or bots) who weren't interested in what I actually post, but it quietly did; it's another niggling annoyance driven out of the desire to make my blog and social platforms successful at the behest of my mental health. It is quite, quite ridiculous. But this is what it has come to!
It's a little bit like constantly running on a treadmill. It's not feasible, but social media demands it. You cannot stop, or you'll end up going backwards. Perhaps there comes a point at which it doesn't matter if you do stop, the snowball keeps on rollin'. 10k? 50k? 150k? Who knows. What I do know is that I have to be willing to accept that people may not wish to follow my blog, instagram, twitter, or associated channels if I am not posting daily, and I have to be ok with that. I am not a machine. Social media is so unforgiving.
This post was not intended to be ranty. Social media has given so much opportunity to so many people, myself included. I enjoy using the platforms I like and it's also a really lovely way to keep in touch with friends. But the dark side of it can draw you in, and often leave you feeling a little bruised. And ironically, can also turn you into a recluse, attached to a handheld device by an invisible cord and slowly getting a rictus in your neck. So now I am trying to look up more. Just a little.