Blog / 2020 / Facebook and Instagram Cheat You Out of Your Creativity

October 5, 2020

I’m in the process of deleting my FB and IG accounts. I’m taking a few months to do it so I can talk with friends on those platforms, explain my choice, and hopefully find a new way to stay in touch. One of the more common responses to my announcement looks something like this:

“But your Insta is so beautiful!”

OR

“Where will you make your home on the web now?”

OR

“Didn’t you used to have a blog?”

I don’t mean to pick on the people who replied like this. They’re just saying exactly what Zuckerberg wants to them say—what he counts on them saying in order to reinforce the importance of his company. He wants our experience of independent art, vacation photos, and baby pics to be linked inextricably with his brand, so that we never even think of trying to connect with each other anywhere else.

And, for me, that is the opposite of okay.

I am officially done with my art being a part of the Instagram brand. The Zuckerverse will no longer be able to leverage my hard work in order to lull people into a sense that all is well in the FB. This lawless and amoral tech giant shouldn’t be able to benefit so much from my creativity.

making of a sandpiper seaside painting

A year ago now, I was just starting my first ever social media sabbatical. My primary goal for the break was to make space in my mind for S Is for Sandpiper and all their alphabetical friends, but even then I’d had enough of the Socials taking from me without nurturing me like they once had.

Two months into my leave, I was touting the joys of my mini-death. After three months, I slowly returned to Zuckerberg’s inadequate version of the internet, trying to simultaneously protect those acres of fresh air that I had cultivated in my brain.

Then COVID hit the US, bringing with it a strange sense of responsibility towards the newly homebound America. Facebook was clearly the place to provide entertainment and solace to my now mostly unemployed community, so I dutifully signed on.

Weirdly enough, a similar sense of responsibility is what’s driving me to leave FB and IG. For years, my use of social media has inspired other artists. I’ve watched as they copy my strategies on their way to finding their own voices. I was proud to be able to help my fellow creatives, but now I feel sick.

It’s not that I think everyone should leave FB and IG just because I am. Each artist needs to figure out what’s best for them. That said, I want to be clear: I believe that the current version of social media does more damage than good to the careers of independent artists.

curlew sandpiper art, acrylic painting
Gwenn Seemel
S Is for Sandpiper
2020
acrylic on panel
14 x 14 inches

The first names embedded in this image are Sacha, Saleem, Sam, Samimi, Sanchioni, Sara, Sasha, Scarlett, Sebastien, Shannon, Sharmila, Sharon, Shayla, Shimoda, Siena, Sita, Sky, Sofia, Sol, Stacey, Stanley, Stella, Stephanie, Susan, Susannah, and Suzanne.

The original sandpiper painting already has a forever home—see all currently available artworks. If you want prints or other pretty items with this image, check out my Redbubble shop.


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