quitting facebook: on my own personal work ethic.

serra_beacon3

most days i curse being born in this time and place (mostly when i look at higher ed job listings: if only i could have been born 10-15 years earlier!), but there is one wonder of the modern age i feel as though was made, perfectly, for me: social media.

let’s start at the beginning: i joined social media’s embryonic disaster that was MySpace around 2004 or so. i loved it. LOVED it, animated sparkly GIFs and all. i found new friends, stalked old ones, met a boy on there when i was living in Texas who i dated for three months (and then he dramatically broke my heart). it was the salve that my telephone-phobic, socially anxious, people-pleasing self needed at that time.

then there came facebook. i remember joining it, the strange little rush, in mid-2007 or so. i built a little world inside that website, a world i curated with great care at the expense of many, many other things in my life.

let’s enumerate the things that facebook has given me over the last almost six years: invaluable professional networking (facebook is probably the reason my Kickstarter funded), gentle constant stroking of my ego (yes, i still get a small thrill when you like my status because i’m lame like that), and course, constant contact with friends and family, near and far (this is by far the most valuable).

now let’s talk about the things that suck about facebook: a persistent stoking of my professional jealousy (seeing friends and acquaintances get shows, residencies, prizes, etc etc etc: should be happy for them, but the little green monster on my shoulder prevents that), occasional stalking tics, potential privacy issues, annoyed looks from my life partner every time i deign to update my status when we’re out, and of course, the evilest of them all: scads and scads and scads and SCADS OF WASTED TIME.

and so i realized on Thursday, standing in Dia:Beacon looking at Agnes Martin, a painter i adore, that she probably didn’t spend a lot of time updating her facebook status or figuring out just the right witty thing to say about a New York Times Op-Ed. facebook works for some people, but like an alcoholic, i just can’t seem to use it responsibly. i respect and honor your decision to continue to use facebook and offer no judgment, but i just cannot do it without falling off the deep end and watching my professional life suffer as a result.

Dia:Beacon made me feel a lot of things. some i expected (like that urge to purge everything i own after looking at Martin, Serra, Beuys for an extended period of time), and some i did not (the realization that i owe a larger debt to minimalism than i originally thought). but the biggest one was this: i feel as though my time, the most valuable asset any working artist needs, was slowly being nibbled away by stupid cat pictures. and i just couldn’t abide that any longer.

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One comment

  1. Anthony Lee Collins

    This is why I don’t have a television. I watch it too much.

    I got off Facebook last fall for a few months. I didn’t have a plan; I just lost interest. That was in August. Around Thanksgiving, one person noticed I was gone.

    (I’ve heard the same thing from other people, so it’s not just me. I think it’s just how Facebook is. 🙂 )

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