Rethinking Digital Life

Late nights scrolling through Reddit. Early mornings swiping through Instagram. 2020 was governed by the glow of the screen, not the sun.

There are many reasons to quit, but I’ll share the ones that made me decide to shred my Reddit accounts, deactivate Instagram and begin to phase out Facebook.

I hate ads. It gives me a sinking feeling in my stomach to see them. I try my best to avoid them (uBlock Origins, PrivacyBadger, HTTPS Everywhere). But unfortunately, there’s no ad blocker for Instagram. In fact, IG is starting to look more like a marketplace. I want to pull the plug of having my data be used against me to contribute to an economic system that perpetuates violence towards workers. I still have a Google phone in my pocket, so I wonder how meaningful deactivating apps is, but I guess it’s one thing at a time.

I should say though, it is important to acknowledge benefits of these apps. Reddit feels like its best self when I’m using it as a message board or forum. But as a source for memes and news – it’s draining.

Facebook is great to for traveling, finding a FB group for expats or car aficionados. It also harbors the family group chat.

As a visual artist/filmmaker, Instagram should be the best place. So many filmmakers, photographers and journalists have a presence on Instagram. There’s also a level of de facto social pressure to entertain and showcase work. For me, it felt like a networking platform. But I do long and slow films! Fast paced pictures were never my thing. Instagram systematically lacks the design features to be a deep platform. It’s designed for fast consumption.

During the George Floyd protests and the 2020 Artsakh war, I felt the stresses of a platform that was designed for consumers, not activists. Links are hard to share and who shows up in your feed is a mystery and disinformation spreads as fast as real information. Sharing news and stories from the Artsakh war felt like screaming into the void. Long form written engagement was hard to come by. Just claps and snaps, data points and shoe ads.

I’m burnt out. And I think it’s time to return to the long haul. I want to out my energy into my art mission and take the slow way around. Instead of using Facebook and Instagram like LinkedIn, I’m going to use LinkedIn for professional networking, my own website/Vimeo showcase my work and I’m going to use cell/email to keep up with family. Bye bye IG.

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