I was networking in Manchester this week at The Manchester Music Collective event at Night People. I got talking to a really interesting artist called Sandi Glowe
She has a really interesting point of view when it comes to the use of social media, she was passionate about her music and wanted to try and do things differenty. I’ve seen this tried before, when October Drift started their journey as a band they had no social media presence, relying on old school word of mouth to make them stand out, it worked for them so why not think about it as an option again?
Sandi discusses her thoughts. You can follow her blog and join her mailing list HERE
I just thought to make clear my position on social media and why you won’t be able to press that Like button on Facebook, or follow me on Instagram + Twitter
I believe that social media are bad for different reasons. I can speak for personal experience, and I think you’ll probably find yourself in my words.
How many hours have we wasted scrolling down that home page?
In that time how many things could have we done?
I always remember something that a friend of my father once said: he said that if Facebook existed when he was younger he probably wouldn’t have become the musician he is now. He was laughing when he said that, but to me it sounds dreadful when I look at my generation.
So not only it kills your time, but it kills your creativity. When you are less creative, or simply when you waste your time on nothing, a feeling of emptiness starts to take over you. Like when you have a lazy day and you feel like you are wasting your life.
The difference is that scrolling through endless content gives you the false impression that you are actually doing something.
There are many articles and books that try to explain the connection between this and depression.
Not only the wasted time makes you feel empty, but the gambling-like logic they apply to the website’s algorithm creates a loop of instant gratification that makes you addicted to the site through constant dopamine hits that lead you to create more and more content.
When we are addicted to something, we need it in order to feel happy, or satisfied. So we keep posting those selfies or other things. And we have to keep up to the polished reality or filtered selfies of our “friends”.
If we don’t get as many likes as them, we are not happy, and this creates a sort of anxiety, of not being good enough.
Among the many drawbacks of using social media, we are also losing our attention and focus. Our attention span decreased drastically in the last years. It’s a common belief that our brain has multitasking skills while that’s not true.
If while you talk to a friend you are reading a notification at the same time, the experience of being with your friend is not going to stay within you as much as if you didn’t check your phone in that moment.
For us musicians, or artists, if we don’t turn off the phone while we practice or we create, those notifications are going to interrupt us and hinder our creative process. Most people tend not to turn their phones off for something called FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), that just keeps us more and more hooked to the app.
Like if this wasn’t enough, there is worse. You are selling yourself. Now everything came out recently, after they found out that data of thousands of people had been sold to private companies, or to influence their vote at the American elections, and Zuckerberg is losing a lot of credibility, but honestly, if you researched about how Facebook works, or what he said in the past, was that even surprising at all? It was just about time. As I read in a book recently, “if you are not the product, you become the product”.
Do you pay to be on Facebook? No. Then you are selling your data, and you don’t even know to whom, and they probably know you better than how your parents do.
Also, to use the words of Sean Parker (who was crucial in the creation of Facebook), they are “exploiting a vulnerability”, as well as, “God only knows what it’s doing to our children brains”
To me, it is all part of the process of de-humanisation we are entering into.
Nowadays being a musician is hard if you don’t have a social media presence. But I’m sorry, I don’t want to be part of this. I want to show you that you can get where you want, even if it might take longer.
It’s worth carrying a message to my generation and the ones to come.
You will only find me on music-related platforms and YouTube, that I consider to be the less worse social media, although things should change on there as well, such as the echo-chambers created by the algorithm that suggests you related content, or its bondage with Google (and I would say the trending section as well, full of irrelevant vlogs; why not make more culture-related posts more famous?); unfortunately though, in an Internet-centered world, musicians like me have to find a compromise, and after all, you can’t stop people from going on Youtube (you don’t need an account to access to it), and they probably never will, but you can show people that they can make a choice regarding the other social media platforms.
With all this being said, I think that social media could be great, to connect with people around the world, to make people’s voices heard, to get instant access to news and invite people to your events if you are an artist. I will be happy to be back on social media if something will be done to fix the issues I talked about before.