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  • Derek Matthew Carter

Quantity, quality, and the dance in-between

Recently, I have discovered, like most who have an online presence, that keeping up with social presence can be pretty nerve-wracking. I've personally have experienced the pressures of not only guerilla networking but the endless quest of maintaining relevance in an online world where most are yelling, 'look over here!...look at me!'

Not long after watching the documentary The Social Dilemma on Netflix, I had deleted my Facebook account for the umpteenth time. It was an enlightening moment where I felt I understood how and why social media has and continues to have such a profound impact on our daily lives and what we view as important. If you have not seen this film yet, I highly recommend it. What an eye-opener for me personally, and I'm sure the millions of others who also have seen it. I'm not going to recap the film, but it will serve as the underlying premise for this blog entry.

Like the millions of people who have deleted their profiles at some point, I soon realized that networking without it was, at least for me, damn near impossible. Not just for networking, either. Most of my closest friends use the Facebooks messenger app for texting as well. I then joined the list of millions who caved in and reactivated my profile. However, I did make a conscious decision to do it differently this time around. I decided to try and stay within the lines of my two main interests: music and art.

Along with that, I also decided to try and spend no more than an hour or so catching up with friends, posting, and reading what other artists are doing currently. This part is a great way to make and meet those who are crushing it in their area of interest and expertise. And while I admit to having too many "friends" on planet Facebook, I have also found some 'gold in dem' hills' as far as creative people that wind up being pretty awesome. It may have taken a little digging, but some of the people I have met online have become very close acquaintances whose work I follow and keep up with to this day.

That said, I have also experienced the time-induced black hole where I get lost in the endless world of scrolling that seems to be working out well to grab my attention. The kind of vacuum that you might find yourself snapping out of after some time if you are lucky.

Then there is the other side of the coin. A place where you're productive and focused. A place where you are not only making new friends and connections but doing so in a reasonable time frame that will allow you to walk away when finished posting and catching up with the people you network and communicate with on social media.

Either way, I have had my priorities of social media reevaluated and readjusted by the days, months, and years of trial and error in the realms of etiquette and basic do's and don'ts.

I find that this is a familiar crossroads for anyone with anything—a place of balance that is often recognized but rarely ever achieved.

As a person who adores and enjoys the creative process, my journey and experience with social media have been very enlightening—learning a lot about myself as far as what I value as important. In the sense of 'do I want to share this with friends, or am I just trying to keep up with masses of voices in an attempt to become/stay relevant.' Well, I've decided that I don't need to share everything about my life with everyone all day, every day. And honestly, it feels pretty awesome. And it takes off a lot of pressure.

The pressure of keeping up an 'online avatar' of what we want people to see can be very exhausting, and honestly, I believe this is something that could land anyone on a slippery slope. And that place can be incredibly debilitating to any creative. Especially considering how many creatives like myself can get lost in the little nuances that will probably never be cared about by anyone other than us anyways.

As I've spent the last few days writing this out, I've realized that I have turned into a confessional of my biggest hurdles of trying to expand my network of people and friends. While I'm aware that my life can be hectic, I also have realized that I can easily create more. If driven by some real inspiration and not just a sense of obligation

Now all of that said, some of my favorite artists post frequently, and I love it! They are also the ones who are constantly putting out a fuck ton of fantastic work, murals, merch, etc. That kind of artistry dramatically benefits from that. I hope to be putting out that kind of work that demands that kind of presence. How wild would that be!? Where I need a social media manager. Or hell, even to the point where I needed to have "a strategy" because random posts aren't the best use of my resources anymore.

But for now, I'm trying to ask myself, 'is this quality or just quantity? ' And I have found that I have been posting and sharing a lot less. And that is fine with me.


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