top of page

Internal Arguments For and Against Social Media.

The mixture of my incessant tunnel vision and habitual tendencies eventually, and cyclically, tend to make me feel consumed by what I do. I obsess over things and I seem to only be able to dedicate my self to one discipline at a time. Previously it was Crossfit, then Uber Driving, and presently Photography. I get entranced in these practices to the point of neglecting my overall health and general life balance. When I quit or stop doing things, I cease to do them entirely, cold turkily. And when I do something, it is entirely all that I do. My eating, sleeping, and thinking are all reasoned and agreed upon with my current goal.

Exercising at Great River Park, East Hartford. April 2015. During my time focused on Crossfit, two a day workouts, several hours a day skill training.

So my current Photography indulgences have teamed up with a desire to get my work seen by more people, and to be able to work for and with more people. Knowing more people means having more opportunities to photograph them. Being more social provides more opportunities for photos of strangers which can bond us into acquaintances, then friends and more opportunities for them to see my work and know the person behind it.

However part of that journey involves using social media to engage, and the trappings of social media are well documented. Habitual scrolling, superficial content, incongruous realities between the internet and actual life.

The past couple days I believe I have convinced myself there is more positive and beneficial to social media than there is harm to come of it. I do believe in the genuine openhearted sharing that occurs on it. I am not a cynic. I know people pick and choose what highlights, struggles, and successes' they choose to put on display. But I am not so naive as to only believe what is posted. I realize that those are all real people behind those accounts and that we all have moments of struggle and moments of joy each day.

I think the real life social facilitation that can come from an app like Instagram far out weighs the negative social bullying or reclusion that it could lead to. The responsibility of how we use it falls on our individual shoulders. If we see a friend becoming too attached to their phone or sharing troublesome content we have a right and sometimes and obligation to talk to them and see if they need help. If we can't have honest and transparent conversations then we aren't friends. And in those cases then sometimes it is ok to unfollow or unfriend people.

Andrew and I at the Parkville Block Party, August 2018. Camera in hand, the Parkville Block Party was an event I heard about entirely from social media. I brought some of my best real life friends and met people for the first time that I had only been following on Insta. Photo taken by Andres Calixto.

You don't have to keep tabs on high school & college acquaintances, people we met that one time, girls we fancied for a few weeks a few years ago. It is ok to clean out your content diet and filter what type of content you want. It's also ok to follow strangers (if they let you follow them of course). If you enjoy someones outlook, point of view, aesthetic, then let them know. Follow them and like their shit, be a fan of theirs. Meet them in real life, become real friends. Go to that event that sound cool that you see posted, even if you wont personally know anyone there. Introduce yourself to someone you follow online. Tell them what you like about their stuff.

Don't use Instagram to: observe other people like they're on reality television,

Don't use Instagram to: talk shit,

Don't use Instagram to: judge,

Don't use Instagram to: criticize with no discernible authority on whatever subject your criticizing,

Don't use Instagram to: wish you could do the cool shit other people are doing.

Because you can do it, and you probably can do it with them. Social media is a tangible part of our culture and how you use it depends on you and your attitude.

Every now and then take a step back and think about your personal goals and who you want to be. Does your social media consumption and the content you share correlate with those goals?