When social media became “the new thing” and every artist was recommended to join the hype, I was very skeptical at first. I came late to the party of the two top dogs, Twitter in 2007, Facebook only in 2009, after the pressure on me from all sides grew too great. At least that’s how it felt to me at the time, or what I told myself… but there’s a good chance I just had the same need for recognition as everyone else and was afraid of missing out and not being recognized appropriately. As you grow older, fortunately that disappears.
Instagram was about photography once
I thought Instagram was pretty good at first… the filters looked cool and it was more about the photos than anything else. Until Facebook took over and turned it into a drug for people with an inferiority complex.
I’ve never really felt comfortable with anti-social media, and I’ve also struggled to generate huge followings. There were decent numbers lately, but not enormous. That may have something to do with the fact that my audience has a rather limited affinity for social media. Something like that always has a direct connection with the kind of music you make.
In all these years, I have experienced everything on social media that internet experts and psychologists are now warning of: abuse, hate, completely pointless and unnecessary discussions, exposing the private to the public (something I don’t like at all) and a very stupid thing: living out conflicts in public, in front of people you don’t really know.
Necessary for artists?
For a long time, I myself succumbed to the belief that as an artist you have to be present on social media in order to be and remain relevant. A few years ago, I severely restricted my activity there. And what happened? You guess it:
Nothing. People consumed my music the same as before. All of a sudden, I had more time for what really mattered and less headaches from some poor souls annoying me online.
At the time, people were already asking me to post more and “stick with it”. I shouldn’t leave the field to “them”. I stopped believing early in life that I could make the world a better place by trying to convert people, so I didn’t comply with those requests. People tend to believe what makes them feel good, not what is closest to the truth. That’s why public discussion is really not my world. I’m too much of a realist, and I don’t like having a lot of people around me either in real life or virtually.
When blogging was a thing
Before I jumped on the social media bandwagon, I was a relatively avid blogger. I’ve always been a political person and liked to write about social criticism, of course music-related and generally about my random thoughts. Because of social media, actual blogging made no sense to me anymore, so I stopped.
It wasn’t always about the public discussion; I felt the need to share my thoughts. Today I only have this need very slightly, and if I have to get rid of my thoughts, then in my private environment or of course in and with my music.
But there are things I want to tell you every now and then. I definitely still have thoughts for which music is not the right means of communication. I would like to use this website exclusively for this purpose in the future. If you’re interested, you can stop by here, subscribe to the feed, or have posts delivered to your inbox.
I’ll be 50 years old in a few weeks. The time for bullshit is long gone. When you’re young, it’s totally okay, understandable, and normal to engage in bullshit. I did that extensively and learned a lot from it. I don’t blame anyone for hanging out and being active on social media. Everyone does what they think they have to do.
My time has come to only take care of myself, my loved ones, my music and my affairs. I live a meaningful life with a lot of things in it that deserve and need my attention. And none of this has anything to do with social media or networks of this kind.
I turned my back on social media because it brings out the worst in people. It’s antisocial media. And now an egomaniac who poses as if he wants to save the world or humanity has bought Twitter. The hand puppet Zuckerberg was enough, now that?
I had more than enough reasons to delete my profiles altogether. No more “social” networks. Anyone who is interested in me is welcome here on this website.
I've stripped my entire digital life down to the bare essentials. No unnecessary apps on my smartphone or computer. I'm no longer afraid of missing out. I experienced and saw most of what I wanted to experience and see. And for everything that is still there, I still have enough time.
I may have gotten a bit older and gray, maybe gained some weight, lost hair, but I’m still fit and have a never-ending bucket list. I spend most of my free time outdoors in nature, with my partner and the dogs, hiking, adventures, enjoying the beauty of nature, shooting photos and videos. My artistic soul still pours itself into music as well. I’ll let you know here on this website if there’s anything new.
I have many good reasons to be happy. I’m not always that, but there are still good reasons for it. I have everything I need and more. You too.
I don’t need social media. Neither do you. But it’s up to you to determine that. I will be here waiting for you. 😉
UPDATE from 2 February 2023 by Zizi Papacharissi
Platforms are on life support. Alternative AI interfaces are on the rise. Meta is shifting emphasis away from Facebook to AR- and VR-enabled portals for interaction. Mastodon is emerging as a friendlier, smaller-scale (for now) antidote to the mass interaction most platforms foster. Twitter has transitioned from serving as the PR instrument of President Trump to the pet project of a billionaire. People have begun to exit platforms en masse, leaving behind zombie accounts with many followers and no activity. They download content and lock up accounts. It almost feels like they’re locking up house and leaving hostile territory, hoping possibly to return when things are normal again, whatever that may mean. The people are leaving; the bots keep gaining ground.