Social Media: Deliberate Dishonesty

Brief thought for today....  Recently I read a post about people deliberately falsely tagging their posts on Instagram as having been taken in Singapore, apparently because doing so increased exposure and gains followers.  I guess if the name of the game is nothing more than more eyes and more followers, it makes sense to engage in the process, but doesn't that seem inherently dishonest?  "Yeah, I really took this photo in my living room in Des Moines, but you might not have seen it if I had said that, so I'm telling you it's in Singapore!" Beyond dishonest, doesn't it just seem pathetic?  As I read more and more about these sly practices, it makes me wonder: is anything honest on social media anymore?  Does quality of content offered matter anymore, or just posting at the right time of day, geotagged in the right location, tagging the right other accounts, etc.?  I'm beginning to think that being a successful social media maven takes exactly the opposite qualities of what it takes to be a successful artist, writer, thinker, etc.  Thoughts?

I love Instagram, and will continue to post there, but will not engage in these cagey tactics myself.  I'll put my art out there and let my work speak for itself.  People like it or they don't; I'll gain followers or I won't.  I won't lie to force either one, though.


The Distraction of Social Media

First, before the title makes you think, "Oh no, another person preaching the evils of social media right after they quit... These people are worse than vegans or ex-smokers!", let me clarify that this ISN'T what this post is.  I think social media can be a very useful tool, or even just a pleasant distraction, for many people when used properly and in moderation.  What I'm going to talk about here is my experience with it, with Facebook in particular.

I'm a Facebook addict.  There, I said it.  When I'm active on Facebook, I'm ACTIVE, meaning I post and interact a LOT.  What I had come to realize recently is that it had become too much a part of my life, often to the detriment of other things.  When I mentioned the "in moderation" above, that was the opposite of me...  Back in July, I deactivated my account for a couple weeks to just clear the cobwebs a bit, get myself away from the distractions and negativity, and just get myself a bit more focused again.  It's amazing how, with that time reclaimed, I began to think about more productive things: things I wanted to write, photo shoot ideas, website and business ideas, etc.  Basically, with my brain free of thinking about things to post, replies to posts, etc., I could put my mind to other uses.  It was very freeing.

Then it happened.  I had something (political) I really wanted to speak out about, and Facebook has always been my preferred venue, so I decided to opt back in.  Surely now that I realized the value of spending my time differently, I would be wiser and engage in a more limited, moderate way, not waste so much time.  Ha!  It didn't take long before I fell right back into the old habits, and not only that, but right from that first post, I fell right back into the same old tired debates with the same old people.  It's not just wasting time, it's re-wasting time, as I was having the exact same types of discussions with the exact same people, and per usual, no one was changing anyone's mind.  It's just friends speaking at (not to) each other on the Internet.  And man, all those ideas I had churning during my break?  They quickly fell to the back of my brain, hardly getting any more thought as I focused on these new lively (albeit repetitive) discussions.  After just a couple weeks back on, I knew what I had to do...

So I've quit again.  I'm now about 5 days sober. :)  The ideas and deeper thoughts have come back.  Not only that, I just find myself more focused in the moment: I'm a better driver because my mind isn't thinking about my next reply in an online conversation; I'm more engaged with my family, as I'm not just thinking about posting pictures of the moments were enjoying together; etc., etc.  

I've also replaced that activity with more productive (to me) writing activity: not only blogging, which forces me to write more long-form, but also doing actual, physical writing in a notebook.  I'm finding that putting actual pen to paper makes me achieve greater focus about whatever I'm thinking about, and when I read back on it later, I can then think more critically, "Is this really something I also want to put online, to blog about; or is it something I should just leave alone, leave it just for me?"  I'm not writing every single day yet, but at least every couple of days I've been getting the notebook out and putting some thoughts down, usually on an afternoon coffee break at work.  It makes for a nice break in the work day, too. 

Now, I haven't gone total 20th century and given up on all social media.  I'm still active on Instagram and Twitter (and cross-post to Tumblr), but those I've always been able to use in more moderation than Facebook.  I can read or post on Twitter for a few minutes, and then not think about it again for a couple days.  Instagram sucks a little more of my time, but I still keep it much more moderate; it's not anything I consider detrimental.  And I have kept my Facebook Messenger account active so I can still be in contact with friends for whom the only real contact info I have is FB.  I just don't have the main account active, so don't waste hours on the news feed, get tagged, etc.

I'm not going to count this any raging success yet, not until I've remained off for months and don't even think about it anymore.  Then the monkey is finally off my back... :)

What social media platform is the big time waster for you?  Or is it something besides social media? 

Galleries slowly growing...

Hey All,

Hope you're doing well out there in Internet Land...  I'm slowly, but surely, expanding the gallery content on the site.  If you were already familiar with my professional photography site, much of the content will look familiar, but there is some new content here, especially all the Minnesota stuff.  The Colorado landscape gallery I'm adding to more slowly, as I'm trying to be very judicious about what I add, filtering out old works that I no longer feel pass muster. We all grow as artists as we go along, and what might have seemed great a couple years ago can now leave us scratching our heads, wondering how we ever thought a particular work(s) was worthy of publishing.  So it goes...  So anyway, I'm working at culling pretty hard as I move that gallery over here.  I have added some new images, though, as well as new images in the Cityscapes gallery (including one from my days back in Colorado Springs that I really like).  I've also added the Nightscapes gallery, which I hope you'll enjoy.  Hopefully I'll be able to make some fresh images for that gallery this coming Spring/Summer, as I'm kinda anxious to get out to some dark skies areas (outside the city) again and do some Milky Way shooting.  I've also got some night images in my files from the past couple of years that I haven't even processed yet, so will try to get some of those done soon, too.

Beyond that, I'm planning to get a couple/few more galleries up in the coming weeks that showcase my portrait and conceptual work.  Stay tuned for those to show up over the next week or two.

Anyway, just checking in and updating you all on progress of site.  I hope you're all doing well.





Tumblr readers:  Link to original post (with working links) here.

The New - A New Beginning.

Welcome to my new website.  Those of you familiar with my previous website over the years have probably noticed that it had gotten kind of stale, in more ways than one.  Not only had I gotten pretty sporadic in updating content, but the design of the site was also several years old and in need of an update.  Now, I could have simply updated the design, or imported everything into this new space to continue what I had going, but beyond just refreshing what I had, I really desired a fresh start, a new ground zero.  I feel like my old site had become too much of a hodge-podge over the years; lacking any real, coherent identity.  I started thinking about how I wanted to present myself to the world, and really, I just wanted to scrap my online past and just start fresh.  This is that fresh start.

The site is still a work in progress.  At the time of this post, I only have a few galleries created, with a small handful of images in each.  That content will grow as I continue to round out this site, moving more content over here.  I plan to upgrade the image viewing experience, too.  So please stay tuned as the site grows richer.

Anyway, that's it for now; just wanted to give a quick introduction.  I hope you'll follow the blog and my galleries, and I'll certainly appreciate any interaction in the comments.  Thanks for stopping by.





p.s. If you're viewing this post on Tumblr, link to original site is here.