Visiting Burg Eltz last year, has reminded me why we usually take a detour around touristic places. They’re touristic. They forfeit their authenticity, their enjoyability. At least for me.
There’s ignorant people all over, looking for the perfect angle to pose, faking smiles, playing to experience a unique moment while sharing their stage with dozens or hundreds of people.
And thats what Instagram is. An empty stage that everyone fills with their own scenery and act. Humankind has always created a selfie for others. For affiliation, acceptance, honor and representation and none of those reasons have ever changed throughout the thousands of years of high culture.
I have learned to always question my actions, which probably has caused me to develope not only good habits. Maybe it’s also my profession that keeps me from accepting easily in general. Yeah, not a good habit.
And don’t get me wrong! I’m not trying to judge anyone but myself, neither do I want to rant about Social Media here. I’m done with that ( or trying at least 😉 )! This is more of an explanation where I have been for the past few months, as you know, it was not on Instagram.
While the end of a semester always marks the most stressful time, and with a lecture free time in spring where the busyness continued, I simply had to decide what plays a bigger role in my life, Social Media or my career as an artist? I’m sure you all know how addicting Instagram can be! It’s the attention, the likes, replies, conversations, being a part of someones virtually experienced life that feels precious to you. It’s all that and more, but I have reached a point in February, where I couldn’t continue the way it was, so I stopped logging in.
And all of a sudden I was working a lot more productive! I did get things done in time! I have applied for prizes, exhibitions, grants and so on and yes, it was worth the work! And the state of euphoria lasted much longer than a good doing IG post!
For a long time I was afraid to check in on my IG profile, fearing it might addict me right away.
Sure it did somehow, but I have set the following rules for me, for a healthier consumption of Instagram.
- do not post every day, Algorithm and Co will make you feel like a fool for wasting your time!
- limit your screen time! It’s ok to miss stories, let’s say every other day. The world won’t end without you noticing it!
- only promote, what you truly stand behind!
- take a break as soon as posting feels like a duty!
So, finding a balance for myself is now the way to go. Instagram used to be my little procrastination-helper, shelter to hide when I was afraid to fail with my work. But it’s also a community, I enjoyed to come back to. When I logged back in, after 4 months of silence, I was overwhelmed from all the messages people have written. It seriously touched me to see that my two doggies have been missed.
Now that I’m back and more active again, I take it a lot easier. If you’ve been following me and the dogs for longer you know, that I restarted my account last year, deleting my old wildwildpack with over 13k followers. I was trapped in the Algorithm swirl, losing touch of people, gaining ghosts, losing joy, feelings of duty, unhealthy dissatisfaction. I quit. After three years of work. And started from zero with the same goals that broad me back again this month. I don’t regret it, as it really has helped me to slow down, focus on my personal goals, on how do I want to develop my photography, and what the fuck makes me happy about all this fuss?
I think it’s important to not lose touch of real life connections, friendships and hobbies besides our dogs. I do want my dogs to have their best life with us, I do love documenting them, I do love a good flower-portrait every once in a while too, caught! But what I don’t want is to realize one day, that i have given up my goals, a career, because it was much easier to hide and give in my fears. Because Likes are satisfying. Because IG helps you to forget about everything outside of your window.
It’s good to reflect, ok to admit my failures, my issues. I have learned that from my Instagram friends.
✕ Melanie ✕