In the early fall of 2020 I decided that it was time to leave social media. There were a lot of reasons driving my decision, which I wrote about in an email announcing my imminent departure.
As an experiment, I decided to go back to my roots and do a little culture jamming in the process, throwing a “bomb” if you will back into the melee and see if anyone else decided to join me. I contacted a group of friends and asked them to post the following images on facebook and instagram simultaneously on the same day.
While I wanted to spread this message, I also was curious about the individual responses as well. Some were really eager to vent their frustration at the network, others were more cautious. Some were outraged. It made me realize the extent to which these networks have harnessed our self worth and narcissism. Many declined because of the perceived fallout from the “career” they have been so carefully manicuring, meaning their instagram account.
In light of the political situation, I’ve come to the conclusion that unless we wholesale disengage from major social media platforms we are never going to dig out of the current moment we are in. There are obviously a lot of reasons why, and I am still unpacking it.
In the process I have had to engage my own addictions, cognitive distortions and fears surrounding my engagement online and decided that the best thing to do is to get off and take some time to decide who I want to be without the constant algorithmic manipulation and ego/fear tripping.
I envisioned this project as a 4 part series, posted to FB and IG as a multi-image post. Each post will have 10 images, constructed using cliche graphic designs and discussing a different aspect of the problem.
Broadly the themes are:
The first set (GUILT) can be viewed here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1wFPaZMA85Cz03vMQrJDLA4QTQxqnWHab if you want to post them, feel free. This part is designed to make the viewer uncomfortable in that it directly addresses their internal process, i.e. relationship to addiction (i.e. denial, understanding but unwillingness to change, feeling trapped) as well as the reasons why they feel they can’t leave. (my career depends on it etc). I am trying to draw a connection between our addiction to these interfaces and the shredding of global democracy by those same platforms.
The other sections I am envisioning loosely as this:
- Analysis should deal with the actual mechanism of control used by these platforms to entrap us.
- Heuristics could begin to lay out a way of existing in relationship to eachother as mediated by the algorithm, a way of raising consciousness about how our behavior online is affected and affects others.
- Alternatives can start to tease out alternative modalities of interacting online.