comparing to others

F A C E B O O K by Elsie Barnes

Reader beware: This blog may not be intended for all audiences. (And may be longer than expected)

Ok, well maybe that sounds a bit more dramatic than I intended, but I am certain that I will have plenty of folks out there on the interwebs that disagree with my recent decision to delete my personal Facebook account..wait for it... off my phone. Thats right, I still have Facebook, its just no longer on my phone.

Why?

Well, its a long and complicated history, like that the one you had with your wanna-be rapper boyfriend back in college. He, like Facebook, kept you entertained while you were bored, was easy on the eyes, and made you look great in public, but behind closed doors, left you feeling empty and depressed. Oh and did I mention can't rap? The boyfriend, not Facebook. 

Pull up a chair, and let me give you the tea.

On my personal Facebook page, I am in contact with family and friends who go as far back as fourth grade, sprinkled with some old co-workers, and a few friends of friends. But a VERY large part of my Facebook newsfeed is filled with other photographers like myself. Its one of our "community over competition" goals. I "like" your work, in return you "like" my work, and so on and so fourth, which stems from Facebook and its crazy algorithms. In a nutshell, the more people who follow you, the larger you audience, the more chances you have to be seen by someone who is looking for a photographer like yourself. Its just a game of chances, that is unless you pay to play. 

I found myself scrolling through swipe after swipe of nothing but photographers, and slowly I began to feel my light dim. And then the thoughts came pouring in..

"Wow, I wish I could do that."

"She's so lucky her kids are older/or doesn't have kids. She has so much more time to spend on her business"

"I can't compete with that!"

Do you see what I mean?  I am normally not a Petty Betty. And this is NOT community over competition. Now to my defense, this was all before my cup of coffee. But I shouldn't be feeling this way. I promise I won't go into some long spiel about women's rights, or lady bosses for goodness sake. Instead lets talk about self.

I wasn't jealous of their sessions, or their successes, or their talents. I wasn't jealous at all. Instead what was happening is that their posts were clouding my session, successes and talents. This is obviously not done deliberately like "Nany nany boo boo, Elsie is about to wake up! Lets bombard her with all of our amazingness so that she can wake up from her 3 hours of sleep in an even worse mood!" Instead I was inviting it into my creative space. My best way to describe this is imagine you have a brand new apartment that you can't wait to decorate with your Joanna Gaines decor. Your moving truck arrives at 10am, and you are so excited. You've been day dreaming for weeks about your Magnolia Farmhouse inspired home. It is going to be so awesome that even Pinterest will be knocking on your door begging to feature your home. The doorbell rings, and Debby, your roommate, arrives with boxes, and a mustard couch that smells like dead cat. Then comes Monica, who insists that all of her Bob Marley posters be hung in your dining room. Monica's boyfriend Greg, needs to leave his guitar at your place for a few weeks till he moves out of his parent's house, and lastly your best friend from middle school begs you to pet sit her parrot.  Your daydreams are not fully destroyed, but instead clouded by the stench, dreadlocks, and echoing parrot. 

Some will say, "Unfollow them." I have done that. But remember that part where I mentioned that the more people you post to, the larger your audience. Most, and by most I mean 99% of photographers, post twice, once on their business page, and then share the exact post on their personal page. So if I am friends with them, I get to see it anyways.

"Then 'Unfollow' your friend" This statement is also true. But in doing that I also miss out on life events that could be important to me. 

"Why are you on Facebook so much? You must be addicted!" Aren't we all? What do you do when you are watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse for the 18th time today, thats right, get on Facebook. Or while you're waiting at the doctor's office? Get on Facebook. Maybe you are on your lunch break and don't want to talk to people... you guessed it, you get on Facebook, or Instagram, or twitter. You go to social media to get away from personally having to socialize. 

So the answer was to delete it off my phone. Hindering the availability and access to the one thing that is dimming my light. In addition to realizing that I am most definitely not in the market for a photographer, and am not the ideal client of those marketing to me. 

Please don't misunderstand me, following other photographers is great for inspiration. But inspiration can be a tricky little devil. What was once inspiration can easily become mimicking. I've seen this happen first hand when I suddenly began to second guess my editing style. I attempted to edit light and airy, or dark and moody, I even gave the film edit a try just to fit in with the latest and greatest. And when none worked, I realized that the influence of others was scribbling all over my love of color. I LOVE bright colorful photographs. The kind of colors that scream "SEE ME." So now, I will go back to SEEING ME, and will not spend hours scrolling through THEM. (See what I did there!)

So good-bye Facebook app. Aloha, Hasta luego, Bon voyage!  

*Wish me luck*

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