Over my Shoulder

After I was asked to write about why I deleted my Facebook account, and after doing so, I figured there would be both positive and negative responses. I received plenty of texts, emails and a few calls, some expressing anger, others support and a few accusing me of deleting my accounts for the publicity.

Most of the time when I share opinions this is what happens, and this is what I like about sharing my opinion. And remember peeps, if you are on social, have a burgeoning community or just love it, then like I said before….power on. These issues and feelings are my own.

First of all, thanks to Michael for sharing a link to another article that makes me feel like I’m not alone or off base here. Simon Sinek on Salon. I’ve seen a few articles really bashing the Gen Y folks which I don’t think is fair. This article does a good job of pointing things out without slamming anyone too hard.

It has been less than a week since my departure and I wanted to follow up by saying it feels great. I’m pleased to find the idea of social quickly slipping from my conscious mind. I have changed other aspects of my life as well, and these changes have aided my new direction. I contacted a friend, someone I find intriguing, mentioned I had, for the first time in my life, compiled ten goals for 2014. He said “So did I, want to meet and discuss them?” So we did.

Three hours of one-on-one, undivided attention in a tea room north of Santa Fe. When we were finished I said, “I honestly can’t remember the last time I did something like this.” No phones, cameras, computers or distractions of any kind. No recording, no immediate sharing. Complete and total isolation and the silence that accompanies three-foot thick walls. It also helped we had a BRICK of the most incredible Chinese tea that required a hammer to break into pieces small enough to steep. It also smelled a bit like tobacco and was loaded with caffeine, so the time went quickly with my fingers drumming nicely on the antique wooden table. We also burned pinon.

This was the first time in my adult life I shared direction and desire with another human being who is NOT my wife. The only time. I’m sitting here now wondering how on Earth I managed to avoid doing this. He listened to me, I to him, and then the dialogue began. Eye contact, no rapid-fire conversation where each participant works from a mental drop down menu of bullet points they are aiming to get off their chest. Nope. I can’t do that anymore.

Perhaps I should say I won’t do that anymore.

This was simply adult, focused conversation, and to risk sounding “all gooey and mystical” it was wildly rewarding. We hit short-term concepts, long-term and each had several that overlapped one other. We also saw things the other did not, offering subsequent ideas or plans. Notes were taken. Eyes glazed over as brains attempted to wrap their fibers around possibility, reality or fantasy.

I know what you are thinking….“He just turned 45.” MIDLIFE CRISIS. You might just be right, but if this is a crisis, I think I like it.

There has been another side effect of my social media betrayal. An unnecessary filter has been removed from my life. I feel closer to the surface of things. My content intake just dropped dramatically. If you havent’ read “The Shallows” then you might not know precisely what I’m talking about, but it’s worth investigation in my humble opinion.

My brain just went from a fast moving, shallow stream to a river appearing mostly calm on the surface but still marked with those boils warning of hidden danger just below. Maybe next I’ll be a Lake Michigan or perhaps….The Dead Sea?

Finally, I realized why deleting and moving on was so damn easy. I’m not cool, hip, popular or providing anything trendy or anything deemed critical for people to live their lives. There is NO NEED to share the vast majority of what happens in my life. You can only cry “Wolf!” so many times.

I’m just a guy with more time on his hands.

And finally, I finally came to grips with something I’d been thinking about and discussing with a chosen few for over a year. I boiled down those who I feel are elite in the fields I follow and realized that many of the people I find truly original aren’t on social media. They never have been and never will be. They are instead making work. Period, end of story. A photographer I consider to be one of the best ever in his chosen field recently had another museum show and when asked about his online presence said he didn’t have a site and had ever been on social media. I wasn’t there, but was told that he was also asked about email and he said something along the lines of “I think I have an email address but don’t remember what it is.” He also has two new books coming out. What I’m saying is, not only is he doing well, he is thriving.

I also began to look at those with the largest followings, and those who make the most noise, and frankly what I found were really good sales and PR people who knew the charade of tapping the generic masses of consumers who had little to no direction of their own. These are the creative self-help masses who are willing to be pulled in new and distracting directions on a weekly basis because they are high on gear, technology and technique, things FAR easier to acquire than originality.

Also, several people found out I did this goal thingy and began quizzing me on WHAT my goals actually were. I won’t share them all, but the first was to just get healthy. As you know I have Lyme Disease, a tricky beast almost completely ignored and denied by the American medical community. I need to stay on it to say the least. Two of my goals are already complete, one of which was to delete my social media accounts, and another that has to do with some redesign. Other goals were more lasting and dealt with things like “thinking about other people more than I think about myself.” Life goals I guess you could say. In reality, more tricky stuff.

PS: I’ve posted this image before, but I’m lazy and it was there.

8 responses to “Over my Shoulder”

  1. Jason Timmis says:

    Simon’s article really helped me better understand the differences in the whole Generation X versus Y thing, especially past ‘just’ the social media part, so thanks for sharing that one.

    …A downward spiral to becoming countries full of American’ts and Cantanians…somehow we need to snap out of it. Someone should start a blog and raise awareness so we can think about it for micro second…maybe get a FB page up.

  2. Great read. Congratulations on reconnecting to humans. Remember when we had pagers.

    All the best,

    Looking forward to our visit in late January.

  3. Mar Ivkovic says:

    An interesting follow up to your last post. This “life change” I guess explains a few of you other posts over the last few months or so, plus the blog downtime. Rather selfishly I’m glad you’ve so far decided to keep the blog active, I tend to find your seeming artistic struggle somewhat comforting. My personal step to manage my own ” social addiction” was to remove Facebook & instagram from my phone last December when I travelled to Berlin. I still have accounts which I can get my fix on when I’m sat at home or the studio but when I’m in the real world I’m without and even this little thing has had it’s own effect on me.
    Perhaps the tide is starting to turn, although I fear it isn’t.

    • Smogranch says:


      Funny this started when my apps began to fail and suddenly I didn’t have FB on my phone. Then it was all over. Just read someone talk about putting their phone down and not only seeing the world but actually “being” in the world, and how it made them realize what they had been missing right in front of their face.

  4. lionelB says:

    Smell. Keeps cropping up. It is the sense which – thankfully – hasn’t yet been subverted by electronics. Though there is an assault of fakery and concentrated essences. 2014 a year for examining the world about us more intently using our noses ?

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