If consumption happens and you didn’t tweet about it, did it really happen?

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I just read this today and I just. Similar to your experience: I quit social media in 2018. By quit I mean deleting all accounts that represent me to my friends, acquaintance, family, etc. I still had my private IG & Tumblr that I used to genuinely connect with my online friends and for me to keep up with my favorite celebrities. Not influencers, not artists who have a large following, literally big celebs who mostly are boomers who don't know or care what internet persona is.

When I left social media in 2018, there weren't that many influencers or at least the social media landscape still existed for people to have fun and genuinely connect with other people (like early days Facebook).

When I rejoined "society" in 2021 I was a bit shocked because everything I watched, saw, consumed, read during my teenage years in 2012-2015 was suddenly popping up again; and it's not in the way that "I love this movie"- casually and making a point about the movie itself. It was more like.... people, especially people my age and younger, were making that specific thing their entire identity. Pictures that went viral on 2014 Tumblr suddenly being recirculated again, now with audience that mostly weren't that online in 2012. When I was in college in 2014, I used IG, and I had "weird" usernames like a bunch of numbers or my favorite Quentin Tarantino character, or a random food/dessert name. People were shocked and utterly confused because that time was post Facebook era where putting your literal government name was normalized, a thing that seemed weird for me who has been too online since 2006.

When I tried to make a more "proper" internet persona as it was a time where I was looking for internships, jobs, scholarships, etc., I caved and changed my IG username to a little more "normal"-- my real name, or at least a shortened version of it.

Being present on the internet wasn't as fun as before, as it was a way to look proper so that I would get hired for a professional position. This was also the time where the "finsta" era was popular-- a thing that until now still confuses me. But I understand, mostly, because people do have public/"proper"/professional persona they need to maintain, as well as the need to connect and share things genuinely to their close friends and family. Still, it irks me.

So when I came back online in 2021 and saw that being "quirky" and "weird" is the new norm, I felt confused and disoriented. Part of me is glad that people, especially the younger generation, have made it more acceptable and normalized being authentic and a little bit "weird", other parts of me also know this still isn't it. Because other than very few people who are truly authentic and genuine, others feel like a performance.

Like you said the art isn't creating art or the art itself— the art is the consumption. People now can be/feel as cool and creative as their favorite artist or singer, because they dress and look like one, read the same thing and are aware of the same ideology, even the language they speak, sometimes it gets a little cultish.

I don't have a problem with a young kid trying to figure out their place and identity in this world. I am mostly just irked and depressed by the constant consuming that's paraded as their entire identity and value.

I'm so sorry to have written out all this in your comment section-- it all just came out. I probably should make my own post.

And I will do it right now.

Thank you and this is a great article!

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Yes to this. I’ve been feeling increasing discomfort with the share-share-share default — it’s like info bingeing/purging — and the motivations behind what we’re posting, or sharing, and instead have been trying using other methods to save/record that don’t invite public opinion or make my thoughts/media consumption social media content. A running google doc, and secret Pinterest boards have been a great substitute tbh. Although still online, not performative social media at least.

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This reminds me of Hans Ulrich Obrist on curation! There's so much content out there that it feels like you have to curate…but it becomes about your self (and presenting yourself well) and not the audience you are "curating" for (which a professional curator focuses on):

"There is, currently, a certain resonance between the idea of curating and the contemporary idea of the creative self, floating freely through the world making aesthetic choices of where to go and what to eat, wear, and do.

The current vogue for the idea of curating stems from a feature of modern life that is impossible to ignore: the proliferation and reproduction of ideas, raw data, processed information, images, disciplinary knowledge and material products…There is no type of information—documents, books, images, video—that is declining. But in addition, we also create more material goods each year than the previous one. Today we are awash in cheaply produced objects to a degree that would have been difficult to imagine a century ago. The result, arguably, has been a shift in the ratio of importance between making new objects and choosing from what is already there."

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Mar 7, 2023·edited Mar 7, 2023

In terms of news, I've been a curator of curators for 20y. (biztoc.com / upstract.com)

“People want an authority to tell them how to value things, but they choose this authority not based on facts or results. They choose it because it feels authorative and familiar. ” — M. Burry

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"Let the consumers be few and the producers be many." -- Confucius

Curation is useful only if it's done with fresh interpretive contexts, informative analysis, and surprising selections / contrasts. Sadly, that is lacking in most 21st century forms of cultural "curation." Most definitely in the current podcast / substack / twitter / tiktok / barfosphere. True creation, aka Art (with a capital A), is much more interesting and what's missing in just about every medium right now.

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I loved this post so much I wanted to share it 😀 so everyone knew how much I loved it.

But seriously you put into words something I have been feeling about social media posts for a while but couldn’t quite synthesize it into words. So thanks

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