About a month ago, I deleted all social media (even email) from my phone. This came as a shock to many who know me, as I’ve always been known as a digital evangelist*.
*If you didn’t know me before Rizik, I was (and still loosely am) a digital marketing professional that came up around the advent of “social media marketing” as we know it. My start in the music industry was managing MySpace pages for artists around 2010, living in San Francisco in the heart of the tech bubble. I’ve been active ever since.
I’ve witnessed the evolution of social media from nearly the inception, and I gotta tell you: I despise what it’s evolved into.
The newsfeeds have become a cesspool for narcism, division and manipulation… all powered by wealthy business interest with a sole desire to keep you hooked, powering their data so they can sell it off to the highest bidder.
The goal is not to connect, but to exploit. And so many have fallen right into the trap.
I want to make one thing clear: this was not a sudden decision.
I’ve been wanting to get off social media for years, but always thought it’d be career suicide. However, I reached the point where I just couldn’t take it any longer.
If there was ever a single piece of media that absolutely nailed how I’ve been feeling these past few years, it’s the recent Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma. If you’ve not checked it out, I can’t recommend it enough.
So what have I been doing without* social media?
*To be clear: I still “check it” — but only through the desktop and only once per day. What I check are direct messages and any business related items that have to be handled for my marketing clients. I never scroll the newsfeed or check Stories.
Well, I’ve found myself connecting more with my actual friends and family. FaceTiming far more often, calling my parents more, reading books, watching tutorial videos on YouTube. I also noticed I’ve developed more patience for a lot of things (and even people).
But above all, I’ve been developing as an artist.
To be succinct: I’ve granted myself the breathing room to just wander with no expectations, judgement, or outcome.
I’ve essentially recreated the circumstances and environment I had when I was a kid, where music was both my only source of entertainment AND source of personal fulfillment.
The marketer in me is VERY angry with the artist.
“How could you leave social media?”
“Why are you halting your releases?”
“You’re gonna fall off!”
Here’s the truth: I’ve lived long enough to recognize that the world is rampant with bullshit.
And so much is done to ensure we grow to become obedient workers, not a population capable of critical thinking that cares for one another.
So I’ve come to a personal conclusion that ART is one of the few truths left worth dedicating to.
For me, music is my art of choice; in its rawest form as pure expression. It’s one of the only things left worth pursuing — financial, personal and professional ramifications be damned.
And in order to dig deeper as a creative individual, searching for authentic ways to express myself, I had to tune out ALL the bullshit… and the epicenter of bullshit today is on social media.
However, I’m not naive.
I’m well aware that as an artist, I’m searching for an audience.
From that audience, a listenership.
From that listenership, a fanbase.
From that fanbase, a customer base.
And for now, social media is where much of that process happens.
I’ll undoubtedly be back, but this time on my own terms and in a much healthier way.
I’ll pop up only when I have something of genuine value to say, to show, or to express. I won’t be checking newsfeeds, but I will be checking DMs to engage in a conversation with anyone who would like build a relationship with me in appreciation of my art.
When will that be?
Don’t know, don’t care. :)
For now and into the foreseeable future, I’ll be relying on my email list to communicate with fans of my art. Yes, I’m aware the reach will be considerably smaller than socials — but these are the people that I’m most interested in developing a relationship with.
They’re the ones that REQUESTED to be informed of what I’m doing on a deeper level.
I shall honor that. They deserve to know what I’m up to… and will appreciate it most.
I’ll close by saying this: Just try it.
Even for just a week.
Remove the apps and distance yourself from the addictive design of social media. It’ll change your life, I promise you.
And if you really think you can’t, you can*.
*There’s a great book called How To Break Up With Your Phone that’ll give you a step-by-step action plan to take back control of your attention and even your life.
Thanks for reading.
Till the next check in.