Problem with modern society— we use numbers (metrics) to measure our self-worth and self-esteem. But what if we demetricated ourselves — no longer attaching our self-worth to a number, or any numbers?
Don’t crowd-source your self-esteeem
I’ve been awakened from an enlightened man’s dream— checking Instagram comments to crowd-source my self-esteem.Kanye west
An interesting news story — apparently Instagram is testing demetricating likes.
The reason why this is significant:
Our self-worth and esteem shouldn’t be dictated by meaningless likes, swipes, and types we get on our photos, posts, and lives.
This is one of the big impetuses for me to start arsbeta.com — to create a platform that’s “anti-social media” by not making photography and art-creation into an empty popularity contest. But instead, to use the power of technology and the internet to empower us as visual artist-photographers.
Why algorithms are ruining your life
For the most part, I think modern algorithms (Facebook/Instagram) are making our lives worse.
Essentially this is what happens:
We get subtly “nudged” by Facebookgram’s “news feed algorithm” to optimize our lives and online behavior to maximize our like/follower count.
What gets lots of likes?
- Showing lots of skin (sexy girls/boys at the beach).
- Food photos
- Fancy products and stuff
- “Exotic travel”/activities
- Minimalist art photos (look good on a small screen).
What kind of behavior isn’t tolerated?
- Uploading more than once a day (Instabook’s algorithm will “punish” you by telling you that you’re uploading “too much).
- Photos that require you to look at more detail.
- Sharing ideas or images that are contrarian and not “popular”.
Is social media empowering you, or disempowering you?
I know when I used to have Instagram, I fell into this sucker trap:
I would always bench-mark (anchor) my progress as a photographer based on how many likes I got on a photo.
For example, if I uploaded a photo that got 2,000 likes but my next photo got “only” 800 likes, I would feel depressed! Why is this? Because I got suckered (by the Facebookgram algorithm) into thinking that my progress was quantified by the amount of likes I got on my photo.
Essentially you get stuck into this treadmill:
Every new photo you upload must get more likes than the prior photo.
What are the alternatives?
A simple idea:
Opt out of having your emotions and behavior modified/tweaked in very sneaky ways, by choosing to NOT upload your photos/artwork to Instagram/Facebook.
Instead, spend time to shoot and make photos for yourself, and ask yourself:
Do I like my own photos? If I never uploaded photos on social media ever again, would I still make photos?
ARS is the answer.
Another option — upload your photos to arsbeta.com if your desire is to get real and honest feedback/constructive critique on your photos.
ARS isn’t perfect— but we are rapidly iterating new versions, and new features to empower us photographers/visual artists to the maximum.
How to demetricate yourself
- Delete Instagram, and start posting photos to your own blog/website instead (WordPress.org).
- Stop weighing yourself (don’t use the scale be the determinant of your physical beauty).
- Spend some time meditating to yourself, “How do I measure myself, and should I even measure myself?”
I believe we can grow and progress in life without metricating ourselves. We don’t need numbers to evaluate our self-esteem.
Instead, let us follow our gut— and look ourselves in the mirror and ask ourselves:
Am I proud of myself, and excited the direction I’m going?