We are nearing the end of January already. Holy crap, guys.
One of my goals this year is to update my blog more often; the dream being twice a week, though I’m a little dubious about that. Still, twice this entire month (so far)? Come on, Jess. You can do better.
But! At least I haven’t been sitting around just doing nothing. This has been an incredibly creatively productive month (more on that closer to The End), and I’m hoping to make it even more so. I want to end this month strong, and as such, I’m thinking of instituting a No Social Media weekend as the last weekend of this — and, going forward, every — month.
But, because I’m a little bitch (heh), there are going to be some caveats.
Hear me out, I promise I’m not cheating for cheating’s sake. But first, you need to understand what my issue with social media is, and why eliminating only some social media for even a weekend can be transformative for me.
So, the first thing I want to say is, I’m not trying to argue that the sites or apps I’m allowing aren’t social media. So don’t come at me yelling that actually, Facetime, or YouTube, or WordPress definitely count as social media. I mean… yeah. You’re not wrong. But I’m going to argue on behalf of these three as to why they are pointedly different from the other social platforms I use, and why I’m not going to include them in my moratorium on social media.
First of all — in the Before Times — I don’t think anyone would argue that spending time connecting with friends or family face-to-face violated a social media moratorium, right? If I went out for coffee with my sister, people wouldn’t be like, “What are you doing?!” And that sounds like a facetious argument, but really hear me out; the entire point as to why people do a social media cleanse is to better engage — with their art, with their work, with their families, with their friends.
We’re in the midst of a pandemic. Several of my friends and family — and myself — are high-risk. I’m not going to be going out and grabbing a coffee with anyone any time soon. I’ll allow the kibosh on messenger apps because I do wholeheartedly believe it’s easier to engage more meaningfully when you can see the other person, and Facetime is the pandemics adaptation to allow us to still have that grabbing-a-drink-with-the bestie vibe without having to put anyone at risk. So, Facetime stays.
YouTube seems like it’s going to be a tough argument, but only if a., you don’t believe what I’m about to tell you about YouTube’s role in my life, and b., if I don’t tell you more about the social media I’m actually eliminating.
I’ve probably got accounts on most of the big — and several of the small — social media platforms. I am active — as in, I post and engage regularly — on WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr (three accounts), Instagram (two accounts), and Reddit. And all of these — with the exception of WordPress and YouTube — are absolute cesspools of obsessive, passive scrolling.
I can scroll through Twitter for hours, hit refresh, and start again. I get lost in Instagram tags. I wind up hate-searching tags on Tumblr and getting pissed and people’s shitty hot takes. I lose hours of my life to these sites without ever really engaging in any meaningful way with anyone.
WordPress and YouTube aren’t like that. WordPress isn’t a pithy microblogging platform, and one of the reasons I’n not more active on here is because it takes a certain degree of focus and concentration to make in through my blogroll. People write more thoughtfully, more thoroughly, and I have curated my feed so that when I log on, it’s entry after entry of art, or poetry, or people musings on creative and productivity and life. It’s, you know — meaningful content, relevant to my goals. And because it’s more thoughtfully written, I can go a few days without loggig in and still only have ten entries to read at any given time. I can’t spend endless hours scrolling through my feed; there’s just not enough of it. Reading my blogroll, unlike looking at Twitter, is a finite experience.
And YouTube, honestly, has just become my best friend. No, seriously. I’ve foud so many creators on YouTube — some of them artists, some of them more general or varied content creators that inspire me, or make me laugh, or keep my company while I paint or draw or work on projects. I’ve binged my way through so many series while working on art — instead of impeding me, or pulling me away from my projects, it has actually helped me learn how to sit and focus, letting my muscle memory take control while I work through the early stages of a drawing, distracting my concious mind just enough that I don’t become overwhelmed or consumed with self-doubt or criticism.
So, yeah. WordPress and YouTube are okay. But they are the only ones.
So, Thursday evening — tomorrow is Friday, and I intend to get some chores done and spend the evening indulging in social media before I turn it all off on Saturday morning. I will be back late Sunday or Monday afternoon (for alas, I have work) to let you know how the weekend went and show off the art and other projects I’ve made my way through this month.
Cheers. Stay safe and sane, everyone.