The signs came slowly but in recent weeks, in rapid succession.
Firstly, I started to feel like a sheep in a large flock of photographers, who were all taking photographs, processing them and then posting them as quickly as possible.
In the beginning, when I started taking seascape photos on the KwaZulu Natal coast, I do not recall many people doing exactly what I did (perhaps my memory fails me). However, these days I find there are a good few photographers doing exactly what I do, from the time I arrive at the beach one hour before sunrise up until a few hours thereafter when I am processing the photos in a certain manner. Of course it is possible that all of these photographers were already doing these things and I have unconsciously become one of them (copied them). Whichever, it just doesn’t feel right.
I purposely avoid clubs, gangs, associations and the like, as I find them for too constraining. But, in being a part of a common group on Facebook, in a photography wheel of life of sorts, I have become part of the “Facebook photography club” that takes photos, posts, likes, comments on the various pages, but secretly looks to see how many likes I can amass; hoping that same is far higher than any other photographer I might consider a competitor.
Another sign prompting my escape has been the ever increasing ranting and raving of a few photographers, some complaining about photography help being given out for free, their client bases being eroded, being tagged in photos not related to them and many other things. I’ve wanted to join in with an uppity comment of my own at times but just managed to hold on and stay quiet.
Some of the ranting is justified of course but all in all I personally started to liken myself to a sheep lost somewhere in a large flock in a kindergarten. As you can see, I am also ranting and raving.
I would like to think that I was always someone who would generally freely invite other photographers to a shoot, even if I had never met them before, and go out of my way to help others. At this point, I am on the verge of becoming selfish like some others who perhaps foolishly believe that if they keep their shoot locations secret and technical skills to themselves, that no other photographer will be able to surpass them. Foolish indeed.
Yet another sign, were posts by two other “friends” of mine who both spoke of taking a break from the rat (sheep) race (flock).
The last straw, or wake-up call perhaps, was being banned from posting on groups on Facebook a week or two ago. No reason was given for this ban despite numerous requests.
At first this was very annoying but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
There is an off chance that I posted a photo of someone or tagged them without malice and they simply reported the post. There is a far greater chance that my energy and passion caused some poor individual to feel a great fear of loss, and he/she acted on it.
In a way, I suppose, I am also really just ranting and raving about myself and will read this post in a few years time and wonder what the hell was going on; my cheeks might even blush.
The upshot, taking all this ranting and raving into consideration, is that I decided to ban Facebook from Andy for an undecided period from today onwards.
Although preprogrammed posts will still appear automatically on my Facebook page from my WordPress account and whenever I upload a photo to Flickr, I will not be there to gloat with my ego over any possible likes. All Facebook accounts have been logged out.
The benefits are already showing (within the same day). Instead of pouring over Facebook posts the entire afternoon and really getting nowhere slowly, I spent a good few hours training software, not related to photography, and the results were phenomenal to say the least.
What do six hours Facebook free feel like.. I feel like a heavy weight has been lifted off my shoulders.
I may soon find out that too much time on Facebook has stifled my photography not improved it.
I found this article by Barbara Ortutay, Associated Press. Published: February 8, 2013, 6:00 AM. Photo below: Raleigh News and Observer (Lopez/MCT)
“NEW YORK — Too much drama, boredom and scads of irrelevant information are just some of the reasons Facebook users give for taking a break from the world’s biggest social networking site for weeks at a time, according to a new study.
A report from the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project found that some 61 percent of Facebook users had taken a hiatus of at least several weeks for myriad reasons, whether they were weary from an onslaught of gossip, or for the more pious, due to the arrival of Lent”.
Read the rest here.
Now before I properly embarrass myself by revealing the 10 Signs It’s Time To Take A Break From Your Social Media Self, I will sign out but leave you with the link here.
Have fun; I scored more than a pass!