I started my social media journey about 10 years ago with Facebook. I looked at it as a natural marketing tool for my art. Little did I know, I was a natural marketing tool for Facebook.
I posted about my gallery shows. I posted about my open studios. But little by little, I posted more about my life. A picture with an artist friend was posted to my wall. My daughter snapped a pic of my husband and I at a restaurant. Then it was Christmases, birthdays, graduations, Mother's Days, Father's Days, walks in the park, vacations and baby pictures. Slowly, the pictures and posts on my wall became an open window anyone in the world can look into at any time.
I signed up and signed on and forgot about it.
My social media network started with Facebook and grew to include almost 12 sites. Once I signed up for Facebook, I got on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Etsy, Blogspot, Google Plus, and more. A few years ago, I was so shocked by the creeping growth of my social media networks. (See Social Media on the sidebar for more.)I resolved to cut my social media ties to only those sites I felt worked for me. And I had to admit, what started out as a professional decision had indeed become personal.
The 'social' in media had become part of my life and I'm not saying that's a bad thing. I 'like' Facebook's platform. It's easy. It's fun. And I get to see what other artists, friends and family are doing. As I log in almost daily, I see beautiful art, photos, friendly faces, inspiring words, honest opinions and funny stories.
But like many others, I didn't realize just how personal it is.
I didn't know I was being 'followed' by dozens of people from foreign countries. I didn't know that apps were taking my personal data and using it to market their products. I didn't know that every 'like' button I pushed gave out even more of my personal data which was used to determine my voting preferences, which in turn, undermined our country's election process.
In the last few days as the scandal about misused personal data emerged, I've gone through my Facebook account. I've deleted all of the apps that have been using my info. I've deleted groups I never joined or liked. I've deleted or hidden my personal birthdate, etc. I never put any phone number or address on any social network, and now, I never will.
But I will still be on social media.
All of my family and many of my friends are on Facebook, so yes, I'll still share and like. I happen to like Instagram for the pictures and ability to show my art to more people. Although I lost interest in Pinterest for a while, I now treat it like an online catalog where I can scroll through things I'm interested in. I have a website to show my art work. And I love blogging, so yes, blogspot will stay.
I'm an artist and writer, so new ideas are my life's work. Technology, social media, cell phones are all very new ideas in our world. And new ideas, like social media are going to bring up new problems and fears but new ideas are also a necessary part of innovation and growth.
It's taken me a while to learn how to use them and now it's time for me to learn how to not let them use me.