Un-Social Media

There was a period in my life where I used all social media platforms, paid to promote and boost posts and genuinely embraced all aspects of social media.

I look back on this period which much disappointment in myself and annoyance at how gullible I was to fall for something which, on reflection, didn’t help my professional or personal life in the slightest. I was swept up by the “what if… perhaps I should also” and so forth.

Many hundreds, if not thousands of hours have been lost typing into my dumbphone [sic] with the hope if exciting some interest in my professional or personal life – but what for? Ego?

The perspective I failed to keep, was that my professional life network spans many, many people, over three continents and began when I was a student and has continued on for 20 plus years – social media didn’t do this for me, I did. In the aforementioned ‘dark ages’, I engaged far less on a personal level with people, relying on the good old fashioned hand shake and eye contact, but connected with thousands of strangers online. The trouble is, these people didn’t come to come to my concerts, well, they would click ‘Attend’, ‘Like’ or ‘Interested’ but would never show up. The people who did turn up, however, were the ones who I had made personal contact with – they brought friends and acquaintances and I met them also with a firm hand shake and eye contact and then in turn came back with more people.

In the time of my life pre-social apps, I was blissfully pursuing a career in music and received good and constructive feedback as I went, which in turn, translated into more or less work – a genuine validation of my abilities. To me, I felt that I progressed at a pace that was right for me and no one else – yes, the usual ambitious qualities of many artists were there, but I wasnt filled with jealousy nor did I waste energy constantly comparing myself to others. My product was the focus of my life and I strived to refine and refine again – every knock back was a chance to try again.

I am writing this post not out of hate for these platforms – I have seen some examples of social media working very well.

I am writing this because I’m surrounded by varying generations of anxious people, staring into their phones constantly. I come into contact with so many people who cannot look me in the eye and shake my hand, who then invariably reach for their phone as a sort of comfort blanket.

I wonder if we are all suffering a sort of sickness?

Here are some questions that I have asked myself on more than one occasion:

– Could I live without my smartphone completely?

– In the event of a power cut or major tech fail, does my home still feel the same?

– Does my landline phone work in a power cut?

– Has smartphone technology helped me become a better person or friend to others?

– Has technology genuinely helped my career?

– Am I able to balance the tech in my life?

– Am I surrounded by people who identify with the above questions in any way?

DAB, June 2018.