So, two things today.
Item one, this is obviously a pic from the same set as the one I posted on Valentine’s Day. And it’s amazing (to me) how subtle differences like a slight shift in perspective and hand placement change the whole feel of a picture. My Valentine’s Day pic felt very presentational, “here I am for you to see.” And this one feels more confrontational.
Which brings me to item 2, I definitely feel confrontational but I don’t feel in charge like this quote describes. And I don’t like it.
A couple weeks ago I got a well meaning comment on one of my IG pictures that said “if you’d started this account 5 years ago, you’d have 100k followers by now.” This observation made me laugh because that would basically mean that I’d have 99k people ignoring my posts and not commenting but her comment stuck with me because that follower count is something I’m supposed to want. And I think I don’t.
I've been thinking a lot about social media this week, about the importance we give it and the lack of control we have over our online lives. A lot of these thoughts spring from laying low on IG due to my current shadow ban and trying to figure out what to do about my accounts. But rather than come up with options, I've only felt increasingly furious about my powerlessness, my lack of choice over who sees my pictures, my lack of options about what I can post on social media and the overarching fear that no matter what I do, I’ll catch the Eye of Sauron and my accounts could be eliminated.
In the course of these musings I’ve realized (again) how much social media censorship is about control not morality, which is why certain accounts are obliterated and others thrive. It has nothing to do with their content. Bringing down the hammer is just one more way that the Zuckerberg minions tell us who’s in charge and remind us that it’s not us and never will be. Our only option in this game is to adjust to arbitrary “rules” or not to play. If we play, we accept rule #1: if someone somewhere decides that something is offensive, instead of telling them to shut their eyes or turn off their computer or go elsewhere, we must instead structure the whole world to suit them.
And listen, I'm not minimizing the need for some monitoring because there’s a lot of bad shit out there, Illegal shit, offensive trolls, asshole aggressive people who decide they deserve whatever they want because they like someone’s pictures, horrible racist sexist slanderous commenters who live to anonymously stir up trouble and increase the hate quotient. But weirdly, all the editing and sanitizing of social media hasn’t changed these people one bit and they’re the real social media problem! Not cunts and dicks and nipples and the portrayal of any sexuality between consenting adults.
Social media companies have no fucks to give about the true offensive material, trolls and hate and instead are drunk on their control and the way they wield the power of life and online death. But the fucking scary thing about this situation isn’t the crass perversion of power masquerading as morality, the fucking scary thing is that we’re playing along! We’re letting this happen and in fact, we’re helping by editing our pictures and our choices and our lives so we can continue to use these platforms. We’re playing by the rules and begging for more chances when the Eye of Sauron decides we’re dead. When the situation gets worse and the doxxing and deplatforming and online censorship continues, we'll have no one to blame but ourselves because we’ve looked at this terrible situation and instead of shutting it down, refusing to play and telling the people in charge they weren’t the boss of us, we took our slaps and our edits and our shadow bans and said “Please sir, can we have another? We'll do anything! Just let us stay in this hateful confusing horrific game that we’ll never win!”
Ok, deep breathing...
All the deep breathing...
Obviously these thoughts come from someone with three Instagram accounts, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a Tumblr page and several blogs, depending on how far back you wanna look. So, obviously I’m not advocating being a Luddite. Plus, it’s impractical. Social media isn’t going anywhere. That genie is out of the bottle, online lives are here to stay until the internet dissolves.
But I’m enraged because I feel played. And I’m not sure what to do about it, though playing their game their way no longer appeals so I'm open to any other suggestions.