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You Have To Click 'Like' Whether You Like It Or Not

Social media is awash with rubbish. Second rate philosophy, second rate ideas, second rate thoughts and second rate beliefs. Everything on social media is second rate. Yes, you read right: second rate. There is no first rate philosophy, no first rate ideas, no first rate thoughts and no first rate beliefs. There never was, never is and never will be anything on social media worth considering that is presented on the glowing screen of an overpriced toy. What is it we are all compelled to do every time we are confronted by all this second rate nonsense? We tap the ‘Like’ key. If we don’t, we’ll be ostracised, shunned and rejected by all those people who were once our close social media friends.

It is so on all social media platforms and forums: all manner of second rate drivel uploaded and consumed relentlessly (by us all), at all times of the day and night to the point where, we are not sure or at least cannot remember what we have looked at, let alone have made comment upon in some vain attempt to seem relevant to an audience (is that the right word?), whom we largely do not know. Yes, we must click ‘Like’ at all times. Not to do so means certain social death. Life outside our own cosseted world will continue without us. We will be unfriended and unloved for ever and ever, amen.

Well, not quite amen; you see, I have stopped ‘Liking’. Really. I’m not joking. I ‘Like’ no more. One can only take so much drivel before realising that, time is of the essence and to waste time on second rate nonsense in all its forms of human expression, is nothing more than an excuse to run away from oneself so to speak. Boredom, frustration, anger, tragedy, hatred, malice, elation, ecstasy, love and longing are just some of the myriad of emotions I have ignored or at least, become numb to, by allowing unwittingly (one could almost argue), a brightly lit toy into my life. What does that say about me? What a disgrace I have become. I have become so weak minded. I have let it permeate into my world to the point where, thousands of hours have been wasted staring at my toy’s little screen, ‘Liking’ all manner of second rate rubbish. That’s all it is. Rubbish. I would punch myself if I could. Punch some sense into me.

One of the biggest gripes I have is that on so many occasions, many people in the art world with whom I have come into contact at various galleries, ‘Like’ everything artistic that is presented to them: even if the art is among the worst ever made. Exhibitions I know they have absolutely hated are presented in nice neat images on social media pages and within minutes, the ‘Likes’ rack up and up and up. Two hundred, three hundred, four hundred and rising: for an exhibition they absolutely hated! To be honest, I have done the same. Fear of offending anyone, even people I hardly know, has directed my finger to the ‘Like’ key.

Worse still is my own behaviour. On recent occasions in my studio, when I should have been at work, diligently painting, pondering, not to mention selfishly indulging in the freedom to express myself artistically, I look to my brightly lit toy and pick it up. “Just a couple of minutes,” I say to myself and twenty minutes later, I remember where I am. The painting is there in front of me, but I am not there anymore. My mind has wandered away. Away to all that second rate rubbish. I might be standing in the studio but I am not there.

It was never like that in the past. Never like that before social media. No. Never. In the past, as I closed the studio door behind me ready for a day’s work, I was in the studio in mind, body and spirit; glad to have the time to indulge in those times of creativity: interrupted by nothing. Phone off the hook. In the moment. Very quickly at work. No time wasting. Alive to emotions and subject matter. Alive to the art in front of me. Maybe some music. Maybe not. Just me and the activity that makes the blood pump through my veins just that little bit faster. That feeling of being at one with oneself! The best there is. Why on Earth did let myself forget the raw instinct that has shaped the course of my life? What a fool.

I could use a lame excuse along the lines of social media addictiveness or wanting to connect with long lost friends or my longing to see all that is going on in the world before I die. Really? Honestly? It is not an addiction of any kind. It is me being weak and fearful of social offence. I cannot remember the last time I connected with long lost friends and, I have no urge whatsoever to see all that is going on in the world. The nightly television news more than covers the world and all it has to offer.

Just imagine yourself enjoying the simple pleasure of a lovely evening or standing in front of a great masterpiece or hearing one of the great symphonies or master works of recent times and the best you can do as a response to elation, ecstasy, love and longing and the myriad of emotions truly great art can evoke in the middle of your heart: is to click ‘Like’.

No more 'Likes' from me.

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