For me, this is a truth and I am not the only one. Many are seeing, especially those who are creative in their endeavors, that the digital path to discovery is a path loaded with pitfalls and danger. It is a dark path…filled with serpents in the road. A plague upon the the mind, body, and soul. It cuts you open and leaves you to bleed…upon the dry sand of life.
But let’s step back from these horrible thoughts for second…let’s find the safety of some memories to add a layer of reality. Life is like an onion indeed. For every layer you pull, you will find another just below…waiting, waiting for you to peel it too!
I remember back when I first got on the computer, back in the year of 2000. The whole of the internet lied there, just waiting for me to find and discover its richness, its bounty, its beauty. Back in those early days, people did actually want to communicate with each other. They wanted to share, to reach out, to find a REAL connection. The entire idea of being able to communicate with a total stranger, and receive true and real feedback was more than just an ideal, it was reality. We could hide behind an identity and revel in who we really were and receive the same from others. I found MSN Communities within my first year on the internet and formed my first message board group within a few months.
The community that I formed was never the largest on MSN, but it was within a few months time, the most active. We had a constant flow of new people and everyone shared their stories, their dreams, their visions. But that was not the best part. The best part was that EVERYONE replied. Everyone commented. Everyone gave input. All wanted to share and to be part of what everyone else was doing. It was within this group that I first shared my some of my poetry and writings. It was within this group that I shared my earliest musical compositions. It was within this group of like-minded, free spirits, that I created some of my earliest graphics. Heck, I created nearly every image that was used in the group’s pages.
I am not saying any of this to brag. I am just remembering how it was and what used to be. Some things in life are worthy of remembrance. This IS how the internet was before blogs became a thing. This is how it was before Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter. It was a thing of beauty and total freedom. Much like the Wild West, without the guns.:)
I relished and languished in this space of time. The whole idea that I could create something…anything, and someone in Japan or California could read, see, or listen and enjoy my creation, was just amazing to me. I’ve never created strictly out of a desire for money or fame. It was always with the ideal, first and foremost in my mind, of providing enjoyment and pleasure to others. In the early days, I freely shared and most of my creations are still free to this day. I do not do this because ANY of it is crap. I do this with the knowledge that one should never hide their light under a canopy.
I am not sure at what point things changed. To pin-point a moment in time would be a ludicrous and ignorant thing to attempt. I will say that by the time social media set in, that it had begun to take shape. The internet became a place of screaming. Everyone was yelling, “Hey, look at me!” and nobody was listening anymore. Followers, subscribers, page views, etc. became more important, than taking a moment of time, to make a real connection to others.
Now I can certainly get how these things might matter to a content creator. We spend so much time offline creating these things we share, that when we do get back online, a little feedback is important. One needs to know if what we created is good or total crap. I certainly get that. But, what of the normal people? The ones just on the internet to communicate. How this behavior of screaming and not listening to others, can be validated, is beyond me. I would never in REAL LIFE(RL) expect to make friends, just by talking and never listening. I cannot see how anyone would ever think, this is the way to meet and make friends. Yet, this seems to be the normal behavior of everyone on the internet now.
It is true that the creative people, the content makers, figured this out first. That sharing our creations with others on the internet is simply a waste of time. Sure, there is always going to be a few people who do stop to listen, to read, to immerse themselves in another’s creation. However, in the search for more visitors, more followers, more subscribers; we lose our chances at true friendship and happiness, at every turn. Life is not about being the most popular. It is about being the best person you can be. If more people would simply leave behind this childish, high school notion of popularity, then the internet could once more be what it once was…a happy place.
Currently, that is not the case and sadly, some of us have begun to see that this trend may not end for many years to come, if ever. There is a quiet and slow movement going on, by a large portion of the creators out there. It currently is an underground movement but will certainly gain momentum over time. This movement is to step back away from the digital world. To walk away from the time consuming, energy wasting, humiliation that digital sharing has become.
We want to share our creations but we have found that nobody wants to see them. Ok, that is a misnomer. They might indeed want to partake in the experience, but do not see it as a means of improving their popularity. Let’s face it, people generally, are a bit selfish. They will almost always and with few exceptions, do what is best for themselves first. It is human nature and part of that good ole’ survival instinct, we have all heard so much about. Hate to tell you though…this is really kinda taking it too far. It really won’t kill you to click that share button, lol!
At any rate, I saw this coming and posted about it nearly 3 years ago. (Yeah, you really should subscribe and read this blog.) I have been slowly pulling myself away from the digital world over the course of the last few years. I stopped uploading music 3 years ago, I stopped writing novels more than 2 yrs. ago. And lastly, once I have uploaded the remaining processed photos I have, my uploads of creative photos will diminish greatly.
I am not the only one doing this. There is a trend currently taking place all across the world called “Digital Detox”. This is not a term I created. This is the term for the ongoing trend of leaving behind all things digital. I stated years ago that more creative types would see the non-sense that the internet has become, and now my words have proven true. But how did I see this coming? I’m certainly not a genius, as some would have you believe. It does not take much more than common sense to figure out some things in life. You can only kick a dog so many times before it bites you. This is common sense and practical knowledge. You ignored the content creators for too long and now they color in adult coloring books, avoiding the plague, that is the internet.
In the end you have created a reality where creative people will no longer share with you. You have turned away some of the most creative minds on the planet, and ultimately, you have limited your own experiences. I am not saying this to be mean, or as a “I told you so” type of thing. I’m simply stating what has become reality and will be even more so, as time goes on.
It is a really depressing for many to have seen the internet go from a truly positive and enlightening experience, to a morose and disgusting hunt for popularity, page visits, and likes. The thought that humans have allowed themselves to become robots, just pressing buttons, instead of spiritual entities freely expressing and sharing experiences, is just so beyond saddening. It simply leaves a black spot in my heart that can never be diminished.
Certainly, there is always the hope that people will change, right? There is a reason it is called hope. Hope is the unfounded belief in something that is not reality. But it is better than the seeing the truth for some, and oftentimes it is the only thing keeping us alive. Hold onto hope if you must. I will instead face the truth head on and deal with the reality it presents me. If the only thing to fear, is fear itself, then the truth should never be feared. The truths in life are meant to be seen. They give us true strength to make correct decisions for our lives.
I miss the internet of old and one day desire, that it once again becomes all it was meant to be. Until that day comes, if ever, you will find me, at my kitchen table, coloring on blank pages. Penciling out what dreams I see in my heart.