Yesterday, I downloaded an app you’ve probably heard of: Instagram.
I’m not a big photographer. Not just because I’m a fun-sized human, but rather, because I don’t take many pictures. Picture taking doesn’t occupy space in my life’s quotidian.
In redundant fact, I don’t even know if I’ve an eye for photography. I’m generally pretty attentive to my surroundings, in a whimsical, I’m focused on everything but not on anything sort of way. I like cool pictures, I like capturing moments that are painted prettily; I also like perusing happy snaps that tell stories, snaps that promulgate words without words, snaps that speak in intangibles. But I’ve never tested myself to see whether I have or do not have an eye for the still.
Nevertheless, I decided to sign up to Instagram.
And why did I sign up to Instagram? If not to further develop my inner, pseudo-photographer?
Well, because it’s a form of social networking. A platform for me to develop my general “Followership.”
Which got me to thinking.
We live in a funny world.
We live in a world where the world social networking doesn’t necessitate traversing yonder the confines of your very own home. A world where we’ve got more “friends” and “followers” than ever, but where we have no idea (I’m not sorry to say, because it’s true) how to speak to people face to face. It’s a world where our minds are collectively swept up in a wave of abstraction, lost in a sphere of concepts and imaginings, where the mere idea of “being present” is more valuable than the reality underlying its concept.
Alas, I’ve chosen a career path that requires me to “build a following.” I don’t like this point, and if I could avoid it, I would. However, despite that my natural state is one of dreaming, despite that I’ve lived in a world of chimerical reverie for all my days, I am realistic enough to know that – build a “following,” I must.
If I want to make a living out of writing, then having an audience that I can pester with shameless self-promotion is of necessity.
As much as I hate to admit it, I am a product. My work, a product. Yes, it is also a form of art, but when filtered through the social world, through the sphere comprising Insta-grams and Face-books and Twitters, my extended, artistic self is a product geared for consumption.
Is this a sad reality? Have we, as a collective species, become so far detached from our roots that we have lost all connection with our real, authentic, tangible, physical, organic selves? Have our cyber selves taken us over and swallowed us whole? And if so, is this such a “bad” thing?”
I’d say, probably, yes.
I don’t want “followers,” I want friends. I don’t want “friends,” I want real friends. Flesh and blood people whom I can sincerely speak not to, not at, but with; people I can exchange ideas with, people I can open up to and people that can open up to me. I don’t want to have “followers,” a collection of pseudo-friends in a social world full of barely-conscious, narcissistic, future obsessing, cyber-centric, formulaic, robotic, inauthentic, zombie people. I don’t want to have to censor my most authentic self purely in order to adhere to the contrived, manufactured, social landscape developed by our past’s people.
No. I’d rather have something else. Something that’s not built from the need to climb this abstracted social ladder leading only into hell’s soulless abyss.
I’d rather have something real. Something art full. Something life full. Something organic.
But hey – so say the hypocrite, from the glowing, cyber soap box of his MacBook Pro.
If you can’t beat them, join them, right? What do I know? I’m just [sic] a bird, I’ll only fly away. I don’t know where my soul is. I don’t know where my home is… where the fuck did that come from? Oh well.