Friday, March 1, 2019

yours truly, the troll.

I've been trolling around on instagram for the last two weeks. Like any diligent scientist, I'm studying it to see what my reemergence might entail. Because I gotta go back. Because I'm about to unveil saipua2.0 -- an elegant revamp of an old classic. Complete with a franchised natural wine bar, a genetic testing laboratory, and a television channel.

In my graphing of the positive and negatives aspects of engaging in social media...

-I am missing a lot of information on births and deaths; specifically puppies. At the vet the other day, the receptionist was asking about Georgio (did I mention here that he was diagnosed with epilepsy?) and then casually slid into a gush session on my sheepdog trainers new litter of border collies...excuse me, come again?

-an account called 'tweedgoth'

-an account called 'omgthemet'

-entire batches of my mother's black currant jam being produced, documented and gifted to other people 

-Making people laugh with quality content vids like 'Homesteading Today'

-Feeling pressure to document every beautiful thing in my life
-Being acutely aware of the 'value' of social capital. i.e. who your friends are and how influential they are.
-Having exes and exes exes up in my feed
-Sameness...which is related to whiteness and safeness which makes me very angry and which I want to expound upon here.

It starts with a carefully color-coded selection of the 9 photos that occupy the instagram feed on your page. Beige? Likely. Maybe the colors gently slide into an ombre as you scroll. That's an advanced technique I appreciate as a colorist myself.

But in this color-coding lies a very dangerous analogy to the way that social media allows us to sort ourselves into carefully curated groups that all think exactly alike. We find ourselves safely in tribes that consume alike and think alike. We wear the same brands, eat the same food. Think about politics in the same way. This is comfortable, but it is stagnating and dangerous because outside ideas from people we disagree with are what stimulate real conversations and provide catalysts for change.

We all want to talk about inclusivity lately but how does promoting safe, highly curated imagery really allow for that?

How do we make more influencers that encourage exploration and real creativity instead of mind-numbing consumption and thoughtless following? When we express ourselves from a place of real creative integrity it seldom matches the last thing we did or the thing our neighbor just did.

It's weird and wonderful and dangerous feeling. Thats what I want, all the time.


LPC said...

In my experience, admittedly limited, this is the best definition of what you do I've ever read. Not definition in the sense of confining, in the sense of a place from which to step forward.

Diane said...

That joyful pause in my day that Homesteading Today dispatches provided is sorely missed!

Claire Miller said...

This is a topic I have a lot of thoughts about!
I deleted all my socials quite a while ago, and am so happy I did. If I had something that needed promoting, maybe I'd get back on Instagram, but I'm a student with very little free time or anything going on really besides studying and hanging with my husband and cat. I find that with social media I spent so much time scrolling and comparing myself to other people that I was never actually in the moment.
There are times when I make something beautiful, or see something amazing, and find myself kind of wishing I could share it. But then I realize that it's okay if what I see or make or do isn't for everyone else out there. It's for me and the people I choose to share it with in the moment.
I spent so much time looking at carefully curated lives and stuff, and living for likes. Such a waste of time. Also, I hate Mark Zuckerberg and his smug face. I want nothing to do with him or his brand, and I feel good not supporting his companies.

Susan said...

2 jars of Black Currant Jam made their way to Worlds End. (Even though you only wanted one)
Grow black currants and I’ll make all you can handle.

Anonymous said...

I've miss the written blog. Most blogs I used to follow have converted to podcasts or social media posts.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sarah,

In my experience of "trolling", the most interesting people (including artists) are not on Instagram to self-promote their work or show off their cats, babies or travel pictures.

With all those smartphones, tablets, WIFI and social apps that keep us "connected" all the time, we are - in my humble opinion - losing the most valuable things we need to gain proper and authentic insight and ideas: silence and solitude.

To unravel the layers of your own life, feelings, thoughts and experiences and to find out who you really are and what you're capable of, both personal and work wise, you need only one person's voice and presence: your own.

I hope you will keep writing on your website, it feels far more special and real than when I still had an Iphone with apps and saw your posts in-between hundreds of others.

Best wishes,


Anonymous said...

I recently went back to Insta after a 3 year hiatus, and let me tell you it is still the same ol, same ol. Nothing revolutionary and really not that inspiring because everyone is sticking to the formula that 'works' / niches. Am struggling a bit to find good accounts to follow, so if you went back that would be awesome :) but I love reading your blogs, it takes me back to the good old days of B.I. (Before Instagram) when you were still in Red Hook. And I love the fact that blogger default commenter icons of the secretary with glasses hasn't changed in over 10 years.
I agree with Claire Miller who commented above.

Anonymous said...


I have a few ideas, but first, a story. At the end of November I was feeling so truly tired of Instagram. It's the only social media I've held onto in the age of Trump, but I was feeling so empty when I scrolled (and somehow this urged me to scroll more?). I took several hours one day, sat down, and looked at every account I follow. Many many many of them were folks who didn't follow me back... lots of white interiors, ceramics, flowers, some vistas, some really really beautiful people who made me feel short and like dogshit when I looked in the mirror. I had this idea that I would unfollow them all (save a few favorites), and follow the people who have been following me for ages (I never took the time to follow them back, mainly because I didn't want an ugly feed to scroll). I did this project where I asked people who follow me on Instagram to send me their mailing addresses, and over 130 did. It wasn't like... the truly glamorous Instagram I was used to... it was like... people with kids and people who still post pictures of their dinner and stuff, but I emerged myself there. I knew that anyone who'd sent me their mailing address had been following along with me for some time, and I wanted to show them some attention. I started by following each of them back, then I would go to their instagram, really take a hard look at them, scroll, look at their tagged photos, and then draw them. After I drew them, I wrote them a letter and a secret message in morse code, and I'm planning to mail them all out sometime this month. The point is not to speak to you in-depth about the specifics of this project, but to tell you that you have the power, within reason, to decide what your Instagram experience will be. You don't have to follow your NYC creative cohort there, because those people should text or call you if something is up. You don't have to follow people you've never met who make also beautiful flower arrangements or have homes in the english countryside. You could pick to follow the people who have made your business what it is, those who have shown you attention, and those who stan you until the end. Your feed would probably be incredibly cluttered as I think you had quite a few followers before the incident, but that's what the world is like. I think, speaking bluntly, my issue was always that I didn't care very much if someone I didn't know had a kid or graduated or made a pie... and that's kind of ugly of me. Forcing myself to follow those accounts rather than highly curated ones re-introduced a lot of empathy back into my social media life, mostly because I was no longer consuming curated images for the sake of eye-eating something cool because I wanted to be cool.

Anonymous said...

To the Unknown commenter above. Thank you. Best thing I've read in a long time.

LC said...

Ditto. The unknown commenter above is my hero.

Laura Gonzalez said...

Sarah! Thanks for keep writing here! It’s very encouraging to read a young woman thoughts like yours and feel related to what you say sometimes. Keep going! Hope to see you back on Instagram soon, it needs more people with a wild and free soul like yours!



Anonymous said...

This post made me think/feel a lot of things I can’t articulate very well because Mercury retrograde, but here’s a thing: are you familiar with Douglas Rushkoff’s Team Human podcast? He just did an interview with Naomi Klein which was really, really good.

Unknown said...

I absolutely adore this post and I don't think I have the ability to put my thoughts into words as well as you. I have been feeling the same way for some time and it's good to know I am not alone.

rare things said...

weird and wonderful and dangerous is all ive got. this is the way i go and have always been. im not beige, or colorblocked, im a middle aged florist from mx city in oaxaca, that doesnt do middle, age, mx city or oaxaca. you have been a marker for me on this: risk, be different, walk away. if and when you come back, it will come together. your 'un-same' is what keeps me, us, coming back to back you, querida sarah.

Diane Bowerbird Flowers said...

I hate beige feeds . There are way to many and frankly it scares me. I recently had a wedding planner tell me My IG feed looked to farm to table. That my work has changed. And it’s not neutral enough. I cried and then I decided she need to go fuck herself. If she wants to be beige great! I want to be myself.

Alyssa said...

Well said, "Unknown" commentor!!!

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