Social Media and the Allure of Autonomy

I can't tell you the last time I've openly embraced and enjoyed stress and anxiety. But that's where I am today. I have a very real anxiety and tension that has been giving me a genuine inner pain, like I can feel my soul being scratched and scuffed... and I'm liking it. Why? It's because I've given up social media for about a month now, and I'm feeling the withdrawals.

There are a myriad of articles on this issue, and I'm positive this one isn't going to be that innovative by comparison. And for that, I'm going to keep this short and simple. All I want to do is briefly address two questions: why? and to what end?

Brilliant re-illustration by artist Kim Dong-Kyu, adding electronic devices into "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" by Georges Seurat

Brilliant re-illustration by artist Kim Dong-Kyu, adding electronic devices into "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" by Georges Seurat

So why give up social media? In short, it seems to have a controlling demand over its audience. Well, I can at least say it has for me. Its life is dependent upon me giving it mine. I began to feel that drain in my own life, in that I found less freedom, and more confinement. Confined to not being in progress, but fixed: fixed to a perfect picture, a perfect thought, or (and ultimately) a perfect presence. It has somehow masterfully fooled me into being the oxymoron of a "static performer," and I've willfully jumped through every hoop it's required. 

Now, to what end am I giving up social media? Honestly, I'm still trying to figure that one out. As for now, I'm just not posting, nor chiming in on convos. Let me rephrase that... I'm just not going to be interjecting my comments and thoughts as some source of all importance that I'm too often tempted to think I am. 

Kim Dong-Kyu's re-illustrating “In the Conservatory” by Edouard Manet

Kim Dong-Kyu's re-illustrating “In the Conservatory” by Edouard Manet

I'll still post, rarely, but only a new piece of art, or a link to a new write up on my blog, or the occasional book review--and those last two are actually done for me via different websites. I'm just tired of the lie that always tells me I'm needed more online than I am for the lives of my family, the lives of my friends, and the life of my soul.

I plan on still checking in on my Facebook account once a week to see if anyone's written me. So, if you have, and I haven't responded, I'm not dodging you, I promise! 

But all of this is case sensitive, isn't it? And my answer might not be relevant for any of you. All I know is that for now, I'm not worried about posting my seemingly profound, yet ultimately irrelevant and boastful thoughts. You don't need them, and, for me, posting them has been nothing more than a glutinous toxicity that is never satisfied.

Kim Dong-Kyu's re-illustrating “The Card Players” by Paul Cézanne

Kim Dong-Kyu's re-illustrating “The Card Players” by Paul Cézanne

So here I am, waiting out the very real and inevitable stress of FOMO (the fear of missing out), while simultaneously learning to embrace a new discomfort: the feeling of being independent from social media. But it's nice. It's nice to feel my soul breathe. It's nice to be reminded that I'm made to transcend earthly bindings. It's even nice to feel the pains of the faux-codependence I've created being put down.

And here's the greatest irony in this process: social media has promised me fast connection with others, but I can only pursue that promise as an autonomous presence; disconnecting, on the other hand, is ending this fast connection to others, but in turn has begun to enliven me with more bandwidth to live out toward others in the real. 

So far, the latter is justifying this decision.


* The thumbnail for this post was another of Kim Dong-Kyu's: Caspar David Friedrich's “Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog”
* Here's a link to more of her work.