I have used the social media platform, Instagram, for years now and have seen a great number of followers, likes and interactions. At first, it was easy, light and very fun. It was personal, and it was private. My account was honest and very interactive with those I actually knew. As time went along, however, it became something else.
In October of 2016 I deleted my Facebook account permanently. I was online with Facebook since 2007, and formerly with MySpace - which was a fun site to customize. I found that through those early years, and more innocent years of platforms, there was an honesty with pages, and less adverts and influence by companies and brands. I was okay with all that was, back then, but things changed slowly and I found myself staring into a screen daily that took me away from my actual life, though it promoted a more involved, in-the-know life. Rubbish, it was now a multi-billion dollar freely driven, information-gathering database, based solely on our desire to be "liked", or if that seems too honest, to stay connected and promote the self.
I decided to delete and not deactivate due to reasons that were personal to me and that I weighed for some time. It was just a year prior to deleting that I was deactivated for the same duration, 13 months (2014-2015). I was worried about the way it would affect my art business, or the ability to get jobs in mural work if I were to leave the 4000+ friends I had. It was not a tough decision though, after all. I was already actively deleting my wall on the timeline and untagging myself in age old photos. I had very little interest in the voyeur lifestyle it promoted. Voyeurism - a term associated with pornographic content, often, is honestly a weird action. Truthfully, I could pull photos of others without them knowing, peruse their pages, look in on their interactions and get this alarmingly creepy understanding of their lives without actually ever needing to be involved or sometimes ever having to actually meet them. Who were these people? Why was it important to me to have "friends" who "like" things? I was somewhat appalled at the lack of insight people had toward these platforms or the fact that most of them were clueless on how to navigate, get information on others or simply, and I stress simply, operate the site for its maximum benefit - which is knowledge of others. I found this oddly disguised sense of narcissism around me. I found that the constant stream of information, which is heavily persuaded by opinions of others or pushed by algorithms, was also getting very influential, distracting and thought consuming. I had enough!
Now with almost a year free, I do not find Facebook to be a very healthy social platform at all, and that said, I will never return. I do not look back with any regret on that decision. Though I may forget a name to a face or many birthdays, I have little desire to keep the past around. Facebook promotes "connection" but it's connected history of a person's timeline or distant past does no good for me, nor for the life I desire to live or those now in it ("forgetting what is behind, I press onward toward the goal..." - Phil. 3). I have missed many actual, in-the-moment things due to my head in a screen and my thoughts elsewhere...
So, after further contemplation, knowing that Instagram is no longer the platform it was when I signed up years ago (and it's owned by Facebook), I have decided to delete the app, deactivate my many accounts (@thekidbelo, @deathdefeated, @lehvystylest, @fadesfordays) and yet keep the @davidbrunning account live, so as to point my followers to THIS website. Hi, hello!
I found myself increasingly tired of interacting online, checking my phone all the time, checking in on likes, needing to produce content to post, viewing my world through the lens of a screen, daily keeping up with comments, handling direct messages (I have NO desire to be contacted that way) and ultimately dealing with the visual psuedo-Facebook. The stream is running on similar algorithms as it's bigger brother and the same is true; it is a very unhealthy platform. It has not promoted my "sales" and it has not boosted my business. It is a good way for many to look into my life, many I do not know or do not care to know, and I am very much over that. I do not want my images or my life to be blasted in a forum like that any longer. I do not desire to open the doors, or keep open the doors, that allow in so much worldly influence or take away from the life I want to live with those I love and care for.
I love making art. I love painting. I love those who I spend time with and I desire to learn again what it is like to be almost phone-free, instead of forever increasing my data plans. The detrimental aspects of keeping up have hit a limit for me and so I hope that if you have read this you will find yourself asking similar questions as to how these platforms affect your mental health, your spiritual health, your relational health and so forth. As this is my personal decision, I do not recommend this move unless you feel it would help you or those around you. I've noticed that my head, or rather our heads, are buried in screens everyday. Why? How did our "lives" become so consumed, so lost, so dis"connected"? My heart will thank me. My mind will thank me. My friends will thank me. My woman will thank me. My family will thank me. I will thank myself, because it is better I live in health. I want my life back and I want my life to stay in tact, in a direction that is manageable, honorable and beauty-full. I will miss some of these great accounts, no doubt, but that said, I am okay to search the web for great art as well, via my laptop.
I am not one to hate things, but I am one to dislike the way things are and I am no longer an advocate for spending what little time I have on this earth with my face in a screen, and all that comes with it. I have been called to much more than that and I have a purpose much higher than developing a following, creating content, pushing my brand, or being caught up in the things that may actually promote a very disconnected life and very wrongly influenced life (in my current opinion). My influence in creating comes from actual interaction with my world, with my heart and with my art.
Thank you for reading, if you have. I am very glad to be making this decision. I will let you all know how it goes, as it will be no easy task.