Using the internet to stay connected and inspired while living in a vast and tangible world.
On the first of January I settled on the need for silence. I was working on Instagram in a freelance capacity and viewing it socially. At any moment I could look into the window of someone else’s experience and, consciously or unconsciously, disappear from where I was. This grooming for a life split into two (digital space & tangible delight) was no match for the senses, in my opinion. So I opted out of Instagram.
The tech moguls are guiding us down a garden path lined with connection, or perceived connection. We are being invited to have a parallel presence in a digital realm while being fixed in the physical world (or staying in the metaverse after death so your family and friends can still talk to you… ). Amongst other reasons to leave zuckermedia was knowing the propulsion of these platforms is geared toward negative emotion, as discussed in Johann Hari’s ‘Stolen Focus’, and data is driven by the consumer (you), funded by customers (advertisers/businesses using the platform). So, while using Instagram, for example, your data selections become points that feed an algorithm that is sold to advertisers. All the while, the platform has your identity in its palm. Before signing out of Instagram, I was unable to extract my photos in the way that the provider says you can (I had cast hundreds of memories across 10 years on multiple devices and no longer have the original photos…) Instead of being able to download my photos I was offered a John Appleseed virus (but didn’t take the bait). Strange right? That an internal link on the app would lead me to an encrypted virus. Do I really still own that content?
So, I exchanged habitual scrolls and mindless taps for more time off-screen.
I have kept in contact by way of calls, texts and letters.
Personalised moments > emoji responses and likes.
In lieu of submitting my attention to these platforms, I have been reading on paper, tending to the garden and spending long lapses of time in nature (with no intention to share onto a 24hr dissolving story). My phone is only required when it’s needed, not when I’m bored or in-between choices.
Little seeds of thought and hope planted in January have now come to pass in this place we call Hopetoun. I’ve been working with teens, and have rediscovered art practices, and art programming while studying Youth Work. One of the key motivators in following this path with youth was my burning curiosity for their interaction with digital space, and nature alike. More on that another time.
A welcomed aspect Instagram offers is an endless (yet addictive) muse of curated broadcasts of images and information I enjoy. To remedy these in-the-know blues I have started a spreadsheet with a bunch of websites that I think are worth checking in on. Rather than ‘following a profile’, I view the websites of businesses, artists and publications I appreciate. Here’s the link to the spreadsheet if you want to check it out, Brands & Publications.
I know, it seems very circa 2000 to enter a URL, not even through a Google search engine.. but pure and simple net surfing can do a lot for this future we are marching into.
“Happiness is in the quiet, ordinary things. A table, a chair, a book with a paper-knife stuck between the pages. And the petal falling from the rose, and the light flickering as we sit silent.”Virginia Woolf