Art Journal 01-26-17 to 01-31-17 (Social Media Retreat Days 26-31)

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Well, that’s it for January, and for my experiment of staying away from social media for the month!

I did end up going back on Facebook on Saturday the 28th, to promote a circus show I was performing in that weekend and to congratulate my fellow performers on a fantastic show. I didn’t bother with promotion earlier because really the Philly circus scene is pretty small and if people were going to come to the show they were going to find out about it from some other mutual friend. I probably have other Facebook friends who might attend such an event, but they don’t live here.

And I’ve also been on it to share photos and video of my performance, because I guess I’m kind of an egotist, but also because I’m really happy with how it went. I figure if other people get to post pictures of their kids, I get to post pictures of myself doing cool circus things. But I still don’t know where the line is between reasonable self-promotion as an artist and being annoying…

And here we come to the crux of my problem. I like having an easy way to share my art and circus things so easily with so many people. But I don’t like how quickly I devolve into an addictive-behavior “like” addict. My plan for returning to social media was to log in only once a day, and never on my phone. But after I posted the video, I logged in multiple times throughout the day, on both my phone and desktop. I just had to know if that video got any new likes or comments. And at least on my phone, it was far to easy to find myself scrolling, scrolling, liking, liking, bye-bye twenty minutes and now I’m annoyed about some political thing but at least I saw a cute cat picture…

I would say that this is just a personal problem of lack of self-control and a need for validation, except I know that these sites are actually designed to be addictive. 

I’m really glad I stepped away from social media for a while. I still haven’t quite figured out how to engage with it in a way that gives me the benefits without the drawbacks. I don’t know if that is even possible, or just some sort of pie-in-the-sky delusion. I do think that stepping away for a while has helped me to be more aware of just how problematic it can be to engage with it in a mindless way. A lot of people who I told about my social media break seemed surprised that I had any negative feelings about it at all. It has become such an integrated part of our lives so quickly.

I think trying to limit my Facebook logins to once per day is theoretically sound, but it’s so difficult not to get hooked by something that makes you want to check back again later! Maybe if I just check in on my desktop before bedtime? I think I’m going to try posting art journal pages once per week on instagram for a while and see how that goes, instead of every day.

One thing that has been good is that this little experiment made me more inclined to do some writing here, which I think is good (even though nobody reads it but my mom, hi mom!). So I hope to continue with that, although probably focusing less on social media specifically.


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