There: I said it. Of course, in addition to FaceBook, it probably applies equally to Twitter, TikTok, and any other social network you can name. Even the social sharing sites like YouTube, Instagram, and others also could be equally as “deadly”. I think you'll see what I mean.
1 – Social Networks Suck
Social networks like FaceBook and Twitter intentionally draw you into viewing more on their site. They don't really want you to click those links to other sites, so they do everything they can to keep you stuck to their platform. In addition, these networks create walls, threads, and feeds of information so that you'll continue to follow them for longer than you intended.
My favorite phrase for this time-suck is “the rabbit hole”. Maybe you meant to update your FaceBook Page with a simple photo or thought from your day. And without realizing how much time is passing, you finally look up from your phone after an hour. Unless you are retired and creating art all day, every day, this will eat up the time you had for creative projects very quickly.
2 – Lull Land and Brain Drain
Closely related to the rabbit hole is what I call “Lull Land”. While there may be moments of inspiration on a social network, most of the time, they lull me into complacency. I don't have a complete explanation of this phenomenon, but I've heard several friends share similar stories.
My crackpot theory is that following those threads on social media is such a passive style of follow-the-leader that we turn off more of our minds than usual. As you've heard, we only use about 20% of our brains, so in Lull Land, we're in danger of turning off the whole thing. And there's no way that complete brainlessness will be best for our creativity.
3 – False Perceptions on “Social” Networks
Who is a friend?
After I joined a few social networks many years ago, I assumed that people who “friended” me there would actually be friendly. Of course, just like in life, that was true of some of them. Over time, I found myself reconnecting with friends who were no longer geographically close on the one hand. On the other, I connected with people that I did not know in person.
There have been a surprising number of these people who I eventually met face-to-face. Most of those relationships have been excellent and many have become as close as some of my local friendships. However, it's not safe to assume that this will always be the case.
When it's not mutual, it's not friendship
Just as can happen in real life, people on social networks are only as true to our mutual connection as their actions indicate. If they lash out repeatedly — especially when that lashing is primarily in “private” messaging — they are not your friend. I had to learn this the hard way.
Someone who I met and hugged at their place of business turned on me years later. (This is someone who is considered to be a “positive person” and an “influencer” by many on Facebook and Twitter.) Although I had reached out to them on several occasions, they continued to respond increasingly more angrily towards me. Eventually, they attacked my brand publicly and made false accusations privately to me regarding my livelihood and integrity. A few days later, they said: “We're okay, right?”
Frankly, I could not imagine any response other than “no”. Eventually, they blocked me on all the social networks. I was honestly relieved. There's no need to have people like this in our lives.
The artful lesson
I'm a sensitive person. And in moments like these, that's not necessarily a good thing. Partially in response to the interactions I mention here, I have not sent a fan newsletter since then. The story my fear tells me is that others will attack my art business or me in the same way that this person did.
As I'm writing this, I'm realizing that I'm at choice. I don't need to let the hurt of this storyline keep me from being creative or more to the point, from marketing my art. So maybe it's time to send out a newsletter in spite of what I thought I had learned from social networking.
Do you have a story of social networks killing your creativity? I'm very curious to hear about that in the comments. And thanks for reading!