My Facebook has turned into a wilderness of horrors, so much so that I’m thinking about giving it up entirely. The only real reason that I stick with it is to stay in contact with Nerd Reactor folks and to keep people updated about Rob Walker Films. My Cinevore colleagues are contacted primarily through email. However, since Facebook is hewing to the “information-is-power” business model, I’m not really sure many people are engaging with RWF or Victorian Cut-out Theatre through Facebook anyway. So at this point, my feed is really just a Nerd Reactor pneumatic tube, and a politically charged meme machine. I enjoy the former, the latter bums me out.
Let me make myself clear though. I believe that people are allowed their own political opinions and beliefs. Although, I’m not sure the Founding Fathers* had social media in mind when they talked about the free exchange of ideas. In a digital climate when, rather than expressing your own opinions with your own words ONCE, it’s easier to repost inflammatory JPEGs that vaguely resemble your own viewpoints over the course of multiple posts, I have difficulty thinking that any non-partisan inroads are being created. Our future social landscape is essentially the digital equivalent of a bathroom wall. This is a sincere shame.
I bring this up because all of my creative endeavors these days are for an online audience and while I seem to be reaching more people this way, and have met some really neat folks I wouldn’t have otherwise, I feel a bit like I am being crushed ‘neath the boot-heel of social media’s machinations. If I work in an online medium, I have to plug my work endlessly online, don’t I? But what do I get from this that I didn't get with live screenings? Do I get credibility? A digital portfolio of work? A constant reminder of the fact that the current social media landscape has been settled, and that I am but a serf, tilling the soil for those who have come before me? I like to make things. I am a creative person and I can’t ever stop, but I am reminded of my earliest days in college when my fellows and I were making theatre independently from the university. Were we hoping to get noticed? Undoubtedly, but we also wanted to be creating things, running our own shows and be able to do what we wanted to do. I don’t know if I have ever felt that kind of creative freedom since.
I’m very proud of the work I am doing these days.And I will endeavor to keep doing it, but it’s the world of online exhibition that seems to be getting me down. Maybe I just need to stop caring about numbers, and trends and audiences. Maybe FB, Twitter and YouTube are like Freddy Krueger, they only have power if I allow myself to believe in them. If I ignore the horribly misshapen things they have become, I may be finally allowed to dream free again.
*My apologies for invoking the ghosts of our founders.