I am of a generation that started out in a world with no cell phones, no personal computers, no VCRs, no CDs, no internet. I have experienced life before and after each of these revolutionary inventions became a part of our day-to-day life. When you think about it, that’s a lot of change to deal with, and a lot of new technology to open your mind to and to learn to use, and perhaps to master. As a person born in 1978, I was born in a time of typewriters and rotary phones–things that we now consider antiques. It’s almost hard to believe how different life was then.
Mind you, I don’t think of myself as old. I simply belong to an interesting generation that has seen a number of life-transforming concepts come to existence and change the way we live and communicate with each other. How different must be the world-view of someone, who has grown up always having had a cell-phone and access to the internet.
I have been thinking about this a lot, as I have recently signed on to Instagram, and have gotten more active on Twitter in addition to Facebook. Perhaps because of my history without all of these things, I have considered each new gadget, app and social media platform as a bit of a nuisance. I have thought of them as time-sucks, that distract me from doing my real work: my art. It hasn’t occurred to me that there can also be an art to the social media itself, and it is dawning on me now. In the process of becoming literate in these things, I have noticed that some of my favorite and also highly productive artists, can be superbly witty and engaging on their chosen social media platform. It doesn’t seem to stop them from doing their artistic work…
I know some very well-known artists belonging to an older generation, who have decided to distance themselves all together from social media, and even the internet, and will not engage in it at all themselves. Instead, they may have other people doing it for them. I totally get it, and I understand their choice. But for the first time I can say that they are missing out on a whole aspect of life that can be hugely rewarding. There is an argument, that communicating via social media is not true communication, and I get that too, but it is a fascinating phenomenon nevertheless. It’s a universe in itself, and potentially very creative as such. I think that some of the people that I talk of could be hugely imaginative and creative on these platforms, should they choose to be. But alas they don’t, at least not yet.
I have generally been pretty leisurely at catching up to new social media platforms, and I think that this has been because of some notable resistance in me: a yearning, and wanting to go back to that simpler life I lived briefly in my childhood, when none of this stuff existed yet. But I am now making a conscious decision to think of it differently. The thought of sharing aspects of my life may actually urge me to become even more active in my artistic pursuits, whether it be photography, literature, visual art, you name it. I can choose to think of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook as tools for expansion, tools for connection, and as a tools to pursue authenticity and honest expression, both on a human, and artistic level.
There clearly is such a thing as mastery in social media, but that doesn’t interest me as much as the art of it. What can I do to make this a fulfilling, well-filling experience in my life, as it clearly is part of my work these days. How can I make my social media contribution interesting for myself and others? I have not figured all of this out yet, but it is a process like any other, and I hope to share that journey with those of you who connect with my music and other artistic endeavors. This too is a path of progress, not perfection, and I look forward to making a genuine contribution, as I go. Thanks for participating in this adventure with me.
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