The Social Media Monster and Mental Health
by Erol Oz
Social Media. It’s that little dopamine hit every time someone likes your post. But we need it to market and network and distribute our art, right? And we have to have a TikTok because EVERYONE else has a TikTok, right? But…why aren’t my post getting enough likes? Why haven’t I gone viral? Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes went viral on social media. And record labels need to see your socials, right? If you don’t have millions of Instagram followers, record labels won’t even give you a second look, right?
Well, here’s the thing. Every social media platform has an algorithm…
Deep-dive into my brain:
Why is it that I have approximately 1000 followers on Instagram, but yet my videos only average about 135 views? So why aren’t 865 of my followers even seeing my videos? How am I ever going to ‘go viral’ if hardly anyone even sees my work? Do my viewers think I suck? Probably not because they’re still following me…Does Instagram’s algorithm think I suck which is why it doesn’t show my video to more of my followers? How does an algorithm know if I’m any good or not? Is it because I’m not mostly naked? Oh God, I’m definitely not attractive enough to pull that off! Maybe I need perfect abs. Maybe I need to wear really expensive clothing. Maybe I need to learn how to be a model. But I’m only 5’8″. There’s no way I could be a model. Okay, well not every male singer is a model. But wait, I don’t have any face tattoos like Post Malone or 6ix9ine. And I’m not a convicted felon. Am I boring? Does no one care about ‘normal’ people anymore?
It’s amazing how much self-doubt and insecurity social media perpetuates.
Remember when it meant something to be good at guitar? Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen blew everyone’s minds and achieved stardom. Remember when it meant something to write good songs? Billy Corgan and Kurt Cobain may not have been the “best” singers by anyone’s definition, but they wrote really good songs. Now Kanye West releases, “Scoopity Poop”. If Kanye West is actually trying to make some kind of Dadaist statement about the music industry, most people don’t read that far into it. But yet there’s a reason people can’t get enough of this. Kanye West officially declared his bid for presidency in 2020. Is he a narcissist? Does he need serious psychiatric help? Or is he actually really smart and just really good at manipulating people and algorithms?
Does anyone remember Dr. Seuss’s Whoville? No one even knew the Whos existed. But when Horton the Elephant challenged popular ideas by speaking of an entire town on the dust speck atop a flower, the other animals tried to destroy Horton’s flower. It took one small Who letting out a great big YOPPP to break through the stratosphere on the dust speck.
There has to be another way…Right?
Keep making music. Keep making art. Even if no one sees or hears it. Even if internet trolls say it sucks. Keep enriching your life. Keep living your life. And don’t let a computer determine your value.