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  • I'm not the first person to call bullshit on social media. Nor shall I be the last!

    I've had this growing sense of unease, dissatisfaction, malaise even, every time I use Facebook. I think I'm using it to connect with people, across states, across seas, across cultural divides. And perhaps once upon a time, that was the case. When 'news feeds' were full of the status updates of people I know. Now all I seem to see when I'm aimlessly flicking are the images, quotes, articles and Youtube detritus people 'share' around. I have no idea what my 'friends' are thinking, feeling, what they ate for breakfast (actually, sometimes i DO know this), but I know what their spirit animal is, which female celebrity would play them in a movie, how amusing they find someone doing the ice bucket challenge.

    ** Disclaimer: I am not against the ice bucket challenge. Anything that raises awareness about such a crippling condition and attracts dollars to relevant charities is great. I just doubt whether most people who are tipping buckets of ice water over themselves are then donating money to charity.***

    I even started my own public page, to post my photographs. I wanted to use the 'push' of being Publicly Accountable to motivate me to take more photos, extend my skills. I am a passionate documentary photographer, seeking to capture something real, something of a person's essence. Dare I say it, I even believed that my photography might be something of an antidote to the trivialities of social media.

    But soon enough, I realised I was chasing 'likes'. I was crestfallen when I realised my 'reach' had dropped from 700 views, down to 100. I felt like I was being manipulated, constantly encouraged to 'boost' my posts, by paying Facebook to highlight my photographs in someone's feed. What had started out as a scary but exciting step towards putting myself out there, creatively, became a dissatisfying, self-conscious experience.

    So. Enough.

    I took down my photography page. And I'm doing the same to my personal page.

    Because I realised, after everything, that I am a Renaissance Woman.

    I love old-school letter writing. With a pen and actual paper. The feeling of not only communicating with someone in words, but through my unique handwriting. My big, loopy, swirly, gregarious marks on the paper.

    I love connecting with people, one on one. Give me a party and I'm screwed. But give me a dear friend, great coffee, a view of the sky, and I'm in bliss.

    I love making stuff with my hands. Baking cakes and cookies. Knitting. Painting with my kids. Threading flowers onto string into nature necklaces.

    I love whiling away my evenings, with children FINALLY asleep, with the TV off. A great book in my hands. My awesome husband to talk to.

    I feel as if I'm ending an abusive relationship by leaving Facebook. Walking away from that person who never cared for me truly, who manipulated me, stole my time away.

    Leaving more time for the things I really love. In the real world!

    ("Tizian 004" by Titian - The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH.. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tizian_004.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Tizian_004.jpg)
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