Destroy the Illusion

Carl Dreyer’s Vampyr (1932)
(still from broadcast)

I am not sure yet, after trying to land on one more, totally NOT like Instagram, social media site that works well for artists, that I’m still willing to invest my time in any social network anymore. But for now, I’ve relocated to Vero. This is my profile there:

It’s less compulsive in terms of an overwhelming stream of images, in that it’s much less populated, but also much less of a post-every-minute/capture-every-little-thing insane pace. Finding people seems to happen most readily through hashtag searching. There seems to be a concerted effort to promote and support musicians and songwriters. Photographers are around and active. Vero promotes people on its discovery pages – but most seem to have a Twitter-style blue verification check next to their name, and the list of people seems static. A recent post to LinkedIn features their promotion of another musician/songwriter. Vero has been in existence since 2015.

So far I like the visual design and ease of use of the app (they now have a desktop version too). But what I am wondering about, now that I am not participating anywhere near as much as I used to on social media in general, is whether I really want to be on it, in any form, at all anymore. When I was new to all this over 10 years ago, it was really important to me to communicate with other artists regularly, and this, due to my busy non-art related life in general, took place online more than in real life. It was kind of like being in art school, and I never went to art school.

But now, all these years later, I feel saturated with communication all day every day. And as I’ve stated in the past, I hate self-promotion. Social media is all about self-promotion, no matter what you’re doing there, and at that, it’s LOUD with it. Quieter voices don’t do well in loud environments. Subtle work isn’t heard with work that screams its message to you right in your face. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. The ones “who really want it” get the promotion. I just can’t do this, it goes against my grain, and always has.

Yesterday I saw a TV show about Wind River artists and their artwork. One of the artists, who uses traditional beadwork techniques in his creations, said his elders always told him that you can get what you want out of life, but it won’t be handed to you – you have to work for it. This is kind of related to the saying, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” This may be true, but relying on a social media company to make things happen is rather as random as relying on anything else – and though initially artists thought the internet was getting the middleman out of the way, in fact social media companies ARE a middleman, and a shifty one at that.

Let’s destroy that illusion then. If you don’t like the options for promotion, you have to find your own way. And to tell the truth, I’m still figuring that out, but the idea of social media being a good one has well worn out its attraction for me.

For the time being then, I’m silent, conserving my energy, and sprinting away from the wide, well-traveled paths.

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