I started selling art nearly a decade ago, and back then the classic buzzwords were facebook and blog. Instagram was like a pretty foreign exchange student at a middle school, and we all wanted to sit at her lunch table even if we weren’t exactly sure how to circumvent the unfamiliarity. Instagram is great for artists, they said. It’s all visual! And now, here we are. Still photos are all but obsolete. Video is queen. But not just any video. Certain videos. Ones with trending audio. Ones that capture the viewer’s attention in the first two seconds. Ones that promote. Ones that don’t promote too hard. Ones that are manicured. Ones that are authentic. Under 15 seconds. You need a hook. It is enough to make a person throw up her hands and say, “to hell with it all” and half the time I do. 

I turned 41 today and it is clear to me that I’m not of the instagram generation, and that I need a change. So we are breaking up. 

And I know it hardly ever works that you can “just be friends” after a deep emotional involvement in real, actual relationships. I’ve cautioned many against it. But in this case, that’s what I’m going for. Less than friends actually. Acquaintances. I want to divorce myself from the emotional connection I have. Which means I have to give up the rejection I feel and the validation. I have to give up the insecurity and the ego boost. Here’s my start:

Dear instagram,

It’s been an interesting ride. You’ve introduced me to new people and new experiences and started some pretty great conversations, but it has become clear to me that you will never fulfill all my needs. It wasn’t right to put that on you anyway. You’ve got a lot going on. So do I. I still want to be friends, of course. But healthy friends. I’ll check in. We’ll visit. But I’ll no longer depend on you for validation. I won’t use the information you provide as the end all, be all to my success as an artist. I’m giving myself the healthy distance I need from you and when we do interact, I plan to do so with authenticity even if you’d rather some other more polished version of me. I won’t do it. I can’t do it. I appreciate your help, all your dancing-fool experts who’ve taught me what a hook is, what audio is trending, and how to trick you by making a photograph into a reel. Thank you also for your continued help in sharing my art with others who might be interested in it. But we are no longer emotionally together. We’re just in each other’s lives without attachment, demands, or codependence. I won’t hold you accountable when I can’t get something to work. When you show up for me, I’ll smile, nod my appreciation, but I won’t expect you to do it time and time again. I won’t dance in the illusion of grandeur when your eye, for a brief second, falls upon me in approval. I won’t confuse that with real validation because I know I’m the only one who can really give that to me. I won’t demand you change your precious, every-changing algorithm to fit my specific needs. I know I’m not the only one you’re seeing. You were never one for consistency, and I think we’ll both thrive in this new world of emotional detachment.

We had quite the ride (roller coaster, that is).  I’ll be seeing you (less turbulently).

–Denise

 

Okay, friends. Tell me how (and if) you navigate instagram. When do you feel best about your relationship with it and when does it drag ya down? 

 

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    I hate when my favorite people (my children, grandchildren, and my favorite artist) post great pictures on Instagram because they move so fast before I can really look at them. They wiggle and become sequences. I don’t think I can save them to see them again. (Maybe it’s my age??)
    No. It used to be a good forum but not anymore!!
    Thanks. ❤️ June Luck

    Reply
    • Denise Hopkins

      Yes! Sometimes the format is too fast paced for me. It’s meant for brevity and constant change and I’m all about really sitting with things and appreciating them. Your age maybe, but also, perhaps, your spirit!

      Reply
  2. Kama

    Congratulations on refusing to be manipulated! That’s what all marketing is, and it has its place. (I say that but really I hate it. It is driven by fear and lack, and I think that’s gross).
    I see it like this – I want to share things I’m doing with those that I am connected with on the platform. I don’t want to trick or manipulate them into buying my things. I don’t want them to buy my things because I “influence” them with my mad social media skills. I want them to buy my things because they like them – period. Isn’t that what people do anyway?
    I’m probably just too old to get it, but that’s my two cents. LOL

    Reply
    • Denise Hopkins

      Preach! It feels very superficial and fast paced. I’m trying to keep up with it so that it can be a platform– as in an actual place where people can see my work– but that’s becoming harder and harder to do. So I’m going to try, lord help me, to keep showing up, but not get emotionally invested in the likes, comments, shares or lack thereof. I’m going to try to learn the new things, but not get obsessed with them. I’m going to make videos that feel true to what I want to communicate but I WILL NOT dance around to some trendy tik tok audio. BTW– i love seeing your work online!

      Reply
  3. Greg Molchan

    Quickly chiming in to say that I agree with the tenor of everyone’s thoughts. I broke up with FB and Instagram, for quite different reasons. I’m happier without them in my life though that has come at the cost of not interacting with people I care about nearly as easily as before.

    Reply

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Written by Denise Hopkins

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