Everything I see and scan in my feed on social media, read through industry articles and email updates, scan over advertisements for local events and conferences – it all comes to me in the same way, (insert the sound made by Charlie Brown’s teacher), wh-wh-wh-wh-wh….
At 46, the digital world has caught up with me. Especially social media. It’s boring me with it’s bullshit, it’s half truths. It appears to me that all of the outlets we use every day to become and stay connected, to be in the know and in the now, to be validated, to be considered legitimate—all of these tributaries eventually flow into the mass sea of our digital existence. And they are tired. They are repeats, pure superfluous information put out there to impress and to convince others that life is indeed grand, that we are without a doubt busy, that we need this product or service to make our lives better or complete, that we need to let everyone know what we’re doing and who we’re doing it with—because these things are important. We need this information, we need likes, we need positive comments on our posts, we need more followers. Or do we?
Here’s where you get offended or you agree with me. There’s not really a grey area on this. Then you ask yourself what my problem is. I am a business owner, and a professional creative, stimulated by visuals. Why am I hating on social media and industry news and events? Especially when I have social media accounts and attend and utilize the events I am ‘hating on’ to make and sustain contacts? Am I bored? Am I uninspired? Maybe a little, but after all, what creative person isn’t?
What I am is tired. I am tired of all the bullshit that this digital existence relies so heavily on to survive. To me, as a creative, there are rarely any ‘wow’ moments left. As I scroll through Instagram, it all looks the same. LinkedIn is now Facebook (which I recently gave up-and have enjoyed every minute of not being on it). Snapchat is stupid, it always has been. But if you want to talk like a fairy and look like a rabbit, then great, it’s for you.
So, what’s my point? I’m not just bitching. I am wondering how long we can continue on like this as a society before we either become completely digital or we revert back to a more analog existence. I look back to my notes from a solid, worthy-of-your-time event from Whitespace, July 24, 2013. Els Van Niekerk, then principal of 20/20 Vision, presented a wonderful synopsis of what we should all be thinking about for 2030. She spoke on technology, how it is our modernity and keeping technology human is going to be (one of) our of biggest challenges. People are living 25% of their lives behind the screen (I am sure that number has increased since the 5 years ago this conference took place.) That we are overstimulated, we don’t pay attention to reality, and we over multi-task. I couldn’t agree more then, and even more so now in 2018.
What’s my solution? I can’t abandon social media, at least not professionally—it is hard enough to run and grow a business much less strip away it’s precious digital existence and expect growth. That would be sabotage, equivalent to dropping a nuclear bomb on it and wiping out every trace of it’s actuality. But I can increase my business’ physical presence. I can seek out authentic gatherings of like-minded people, write letters instead of emails, make calls instead of sending texts. I can take time to make things, reconnect with nature, reuse and recycle more. Make an effort to have more tactile experiences. What I seek is more interaction, less distraction. More reality, less smoke and mirrors.
How about you?