Featured Image – Huntington Pier Sunset Selfie by Jamie MacDonald ©
Dictionary result for diluted
(of a liquid) weakened by the addition of water or another solvent “diluted fruit juice”
made weaker in force, content, or value by modification “the report was published in a diluted form”
How is that for a catchy intro? The definition of the word diluted. The description “made weaker in force, CONTENT or VALUE by modification.” I decided to start this blog post off with that statement because I want it front and center in your mind as you read about my personal struggle with the state of social media as a creative.
Keep in mind what I am writing is my own personal journey, and when I posted about this on Facebook and Instagram it got a lot of responses from people, and I felt the need to let them, and you, know that this is my personal path, and if it inspires you, the way Forest Gump inspired countless runners, then great!
I have come to the conclusion that likes are empty gestures that dilute the value of our art. Now hold on, don’t get your torches and pitchforks out just yet, let me elaborate.
As a simple gesture to someone sharing a post, a viewpoint, news, or their latest new gadget that is fine. I say, like away! Let them know you saw their post by giving it a big ol’ LIKE. I enjoy that gesture myself. That LIKE says, “Hey! I saw your post and..well. I like it.” It is confirmation to that person that you are in their life in some capacity, and there is nothing wrong with that.
But for us, those of you reading this, you artists (because that is what photographers are), the value of that “drive-by” like could be so much more. SHOULD be so much more, and for me, it HAS to be more. My days of handing out random empty likes are over. My personal mission, as a way to better myself (no pressure on anyone else here ok?), is to recognize that when someone posts their photos, their art, that they made a personal sacrifice in some way to create that image.
They gave their time, they gave their money, and many a photographer has given a little blood and sweat too! In my mind, they deserve not only the LIKE, but they also deserve to know WHY I like it. I want to pay back to them by giving a little of myself to them. My own personal sacrifice in time, my personal sacrifice in emotion, my own way of saying thank you for sharing your art with the world, and I want to do it with more than a single mouse click. They deserve that, we all do don’t we?
Remember the definition of diluted up top there? Well, dilution is what likes are becoming in my mind. In an age where we all have dozens, hundreds, thousands of followers, how valuable is that “click of appreciation”?
When you get dozens, hundreds, or even more likes, does it make you feel as good as seeing that someone took time to comment? I made the analogy to a fellow photographer that to me LIKES are the same as emails. Quick, often sloppy and informal, and very easy to do. And comments are more like a handwritten letter. They show you that the writer feels that what they have to say is important to them, and they hope you feel the same. It is personal.
Now as I have said several times in this post, this is my personal journey, my opinion, my emotional reaction. I don’t expect this to become a movement or anything like that, but I do hope it makes some of us reconsider how important, meaningful feedback is to creatives. I know the LIKE isn’t going away, but can we bring back conversation? Can we bring back a genuine showing of appreciation with the use of words, and not a click?
Now don’t forget to LIKE this blog post 😉