By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

Everyone around is singing “Last Christmas” and “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.” I look around and see what I have seen for the last three three years: those who have paid to attend some “festive gathering” insisting to themselves that they’re going to have a good time. Maybe some are. Me, I’m weighing out the pros and cons of leaving Facebook. If I jump ship, this would be the fifth time though an ex live-in who thought she had figured out a successful escape plan quickly realised that like that line in Hotel California, you can check out anytime you want, but you can never leave. You might have bolted, but you’re still there like the ghost of Christmas past.

Though needing a presence on the social media platform- and Facebook CAN be used far more effectively and creatively to do some good for the arts- this time around I am seeing people I know- and thought were smarter- embarrassing themselves. Facebook Live, for example, hardly makes musicians sound their best. If even Coldplay sounds like they’re playing through airbags, reasonably good musicians without the technical support that band has end up sounding like amateurs. Imagine then how it makes amateurs sound. But ignorance is bliss and so these people are up there thinking everyone cares about their sophomoric versions of songs, covers of songs that makes one wonder, Why?, childish and silly attempts to interact and self-promote themselves and show and tell the online world about their private lives. Is there anyone out there really listening? Are we dumbed down this much to waste time even looking at this avalanche of clutter? And all this then continues onto Instagram. 

I recently asked someone, “Did you really like that music?” Their reply: “Nah, I just pressed the Like button because I know them and to just be polite.”

This random Facebook “liking”- and it happens in small separate cliques- actually does more harm than good. It gives mediocrity a certain “value” even if it’s on a social media platform that’s rapidly becoming both irrelevant and the anti Christ to many. Yes, the anti Christ. And that’s scary.

Facebook’s supposed ethos is about “creating a community to bring the world together.” That’s gone out the window. How does shameless self promotion being lapped up by the same tiny group of people and cringeworthy declarations of where someone is in their private lives help lead anyone towards bringing the world together? It’s all just showbiz and a showcase for the emotionally needy. What do I think about what’s NOT going on?

If in music, constantly uploading content and constantly being seen on Facebook does nothing to make one better. Or respected. It’s quiet desperation given an outlet to scream, “Look at me! Look at me!” It does nothing to actually have one’s music heard and appreciated. It’s all about collecting sympathy votes and actually bringing down the quality of music several notches. It makes the truly original music of Tash Sultana and Youngr and discovering all the classic recordings that one stumbles on shine even brighter. It’s compare and contrast and the comparisons are hardly good. One guesses this is the desperate need for that Silent Scream…

Little wonder that because I know some of these people I receive lengthy rants from those not without their own human frailties watching from the sidelines and tearing all this mediocrity apart. If these online critics and haters had the courage of their convictions, they’d make themselves known and stop all this fermented online “fame” they want others to make go away. It’s the Wake Up call needed. It’s how musicians evolve. If not, it’s a musician travelling in reverse and hoping to be seen and heard. But seen and heard doing what? Eating a hotdog? Murdering a cover by a real artist? Stumbling through another round of bad musicianship?

Why not use social media when there’s something really good that’s been created and worth sharing? Why the obscene rush to put it all out there like porn? It gets boring very quickly. Then again, when not knowing good from mediocre one becomes a legend in their own Facebook lunchtime and goes around and around and around and…

All this fakery is only taking those trying to get somewhere down that short road to oblivion. Everyone and everything gets lost amongst the constant clutter. The business model and use of social media has become yet another messy and amateurish open mic session. There’s no filtering process to ensure the quality of a product.

As for these “social media agencies” and social media “experts” armed with hashtags and without understanding the end game of this data driven business where our content has made and continues to keep social media platforms going and going and going, they’re only exposed as even less effective than those old research companies many clients hid behind to give their daft ideas and marketing programmes a certain validity.

For myself, it was a big Wake Up Call when the person with me threatened to leave if I ever “advertised” our personal life on social media. She then broke down how disruptive Facebook, especially, has been to our relationship and the damage it’s doing to my own time management. I was drowning in Facebook quicksand from the moment I woke up. 

As she put it, “Do without talking about it and create tangibles instead of fluff that’s here today and gone in a nanu second.”

Most frightening of all was being told how I had given up one addiction only to embrace another that was taking over my headspace and originality. I was becoming one of the Children Of The Corn. I can’t allow that to happen.

I might still be on Facebook, I will share news that might interest some, but I will make visits only when necessary and be very selective who I allow in. Carelessness has already let in some really sad Eleanor Rigbys along with their sons, brothers, mothers and fathers.

I’m really not desperately seeking online friends. I would much rather have meaningful relationships, walk hand in hand with that special someone, have  conversations face to face, be guarded about my private life and make every minute count. Life’s too short for time wasters and time wasting.

#Facebook #Facebooklikes #selfpromotion #music #TashSultana #Youngr #datadriven #content #reality #selective #exclusitivity #clutter #irrelevence #fakery

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