An essay about social media, 23.02.2021:
This is an essay about why I’ve decided to delete my private IG profile. In an attempt to withdraw from the zero-sum game of social media, but at the same time retain the great tools that the social media platforms furnish for creatives like myself.
I’ve played with the idea for a year now, and maybe it’s sounds kind of weird and cowardly to not just go ahead and delete it. And fair enough, I get the point, but I actually wanted to understand why and how I wanted to withdraw. So this essay will at least try to make it a bit more clear.
Let me dive into the personal side of it. That will be most compelling to the audience, since I believe the recognition factor is fairly high. The creative, joyful and sustainable challenge of operating from my private IG profile has been MIA for about two years now. Maybe only one and a half year, with me actually recognizing that these primary components were gone.
This is totally my responsibility. After dealing with a rather distressing period, I finally came to terms with it. I had let algorithms, ideologies and social consensus on the platform, get into my head and mess with my creativity, courage and sense-making. Maybe this story is not so farfetched for people who found IG for inspirational purposes like myself.
Anyways, when I realized this and got over the worst moments, I found conciliation in the fact that I’ve always said to myself that I wouldn’t let market forces or other social constraints get in the way of my aims and artistic pursuits. Finding back to this belief helped me accept my failures in the present. I had failed to build my beliefs about what I value in life, robust and earnest enough, to stand against the contaminated collective narrative and its demands.
In that realizing moment, the only thing that seemed like the right thing to do was to let go. Let go of what I thought was valuable. Only that way I could begin to restore and rebuild the part of me that still flourishes from creating, thinking and building. Otherwise I would choose, by free will, to be a prisoner in a chaotic and oppressive collective.
And what I refuse to be, is yet another artificial operator in the chaotic and oppressive collective of social media. What I mean by a chaotic and oppressive collective, is that social media provides us with an environment to start doing what inspire us, but ends up pushing us in the direction of identity politics and ideological movements. The market incentives is all about gaining our attention, and game theoretically it ends up being rigged and zero-sum. In a zero-sum game we deduce ourselves to be merely predictable robots, and it will eventually destroy every vital, fruitful thing alive. You don’t build online communities in a meaningful sense, in a chaotic and oppressive environment. You build a social courtroom where the loud minority demand the rules and the silent majority quietly complies.
You might say, okey, but why don’t you just get off social media and shut up – some of us actually love it like it is? As I stated in the beginning of this essay; I want to withdraw from the zero-sum game of social media, but at the same time retain the great tools that the social media platforms can provide for creatives like myself. For that to happen I have to be conscious of the ways in which all of this works, and cautiously and consciously decide what I want to be a part of and not.
So, I started over again. When deciding to no longer participate in a zero-sum game, you can come to the conclusion that the whole thing is bullshit and leave everything behind. Another way of coping is to say; “I want to be a part of it, but in my own terms. I will not be a part of the power struggle that leads to a zero-sum game.” The easiest example to point to is a toxic relationship. You can decide to never trust anyone again, that all relationships (and humans) are garbage, not worthy of any chance. Or, the less nihilistic version; you are willing to take a chance with someone new because you inherently value honest relationships with other human beings.
I don’t consider myself nihilistic, so I continue to chose the latter. Starting over with my failures and lessons fresh in mind allowed me to be more intelligible about who I would like to be. My new profile is an interplay of creativity, reflections and adventures. I live for adventures. I love reading, exploring new ideas and building sustainable frameworks for thinking. I have a passion for esthetics and beauty, and by the same token I’m enthusiastically fascinated by philosophy, history, evolution and psychology.
That’s more obvious to me now than it was in 2012 when I made a profile on IG. The person I consider myself to be today and would like to continue building, feels like overfitting on my old IG profile. Do I know if this is the right thing to do for my future self? Absolutely not. Maybe I decide to quit the whole IG thing in 5 years – maybe we all do. Nobody actually knows what the future will look like, all we can do is try to do what we think is best for us in the present. If we try to do it honestly, it will probably contain a great deal of wisdom and lessons in it, in the unknown future. It’s at least my take on it.
My aim with the new profile is to continue to build a meaningful framework for creative ideas, and a community that reflect, celebrate and revolve that. This gives me the opportunity to work on my parallel projects, and try to bring about a synthesis to everything I do.
If you are a follower, I really thank you for over 8 years of online interactions. I will always be grateful to all of you who’s been eager to follow and interact with my trajectory. Most of my IG journey has been very exciting and meaningful, and I’ve met so many great souls who has inspired me. If you would like to continue to follow my journey, thats of course very much appreciated.
Here’s to taking back the inspiring and productive part of IG – the part that generate meaning and fruitful interplays.