Attn Whore

Modern communicative stuff like blogs, social media, mobile tech, all the futuristic stuff we got instead of flying cars… all that stuff isn’t inherently good. Or bad. They’re tools, like table-saws and shot-guns. They gives us a voice, and you know as well as I do how easy it is to use that voice to spew negativity. They can facilitate the awakening of poisons we all have buried within our personalities.

I started feeling really down lately. Like, Grumpy Bear would be like “Imma take my thundercloud and go home, cuz you’re being a real bitch” kinda down. I couldn’t figure it out at first. See a problem and fix it, that’s my way, but I couldn’t figure out the source of the prroblem. Why was I feeling like such a surly asshole? I mean, yeah, day job and interpersonal issues, but that’s usually not enough to blacken my outlook. Took me a bit to figure out that my negative emotional surge was the result of self-loathing.

Let me break it down. I just started blogging a few months ago. Got my twitter account up and running even more recently than that. Started getting little tides and pings and feedback from those channels, and it felt good.

Then I spent August taking part in supporting the Kickstarter campaign for “Women in Practical Armor” and that took my level of online interaction to another level. There was SO MUCH going on, constantly. New updates, progress, celebrations, it was a constant stream of stuff to take part in, and it was all awesome. I loved it! Connected with so many new people, people doing good stuff, people I could jive with. And it was this constant little party/project pushing up to an awesome culmination.

The problem with there being so much going on is that I got hooked on the constant stream of positive feedback that I could lap up and mmmm yeah it tasted so good!

You can see the problem here.

Almost as soon as that Kickstarter wrapped up, I jumped onto Inkshares, started running a campaign to crowd-fund my own project. Got myself a smartphone. Updates updates updates, feedback feedback feedback. Pings and pops and connections. New people and exciting ideas and that’s all good. But there I was, with everyone else, touting my project, trying to get notice, and it wasn’t picking up and so I thought there was something wrong with me. I wasn’t doing enough. Needed to push, push, play the social media game better so I could win the internet. Make more connections and rake in tons of backers. So I did, I tried harder, I worried about it, I laid awake trying to drum up new ways to get this project, to get me me me meeee to splash bigger and brighter across the webernets.

<<<Interruption. My intention in writing this is not to gather pity, but to chronicle howw I lost and regained peace and artistic integrity. Hopefully someone, someday, maybe just me, can read this and maybe get some strength, feel some commonality, or at least get some mental refreshment. We resume.>>>

So in the midst of all this anxiety over how the drive isn’t going well and how can I gobble up more attention, I realized that the badness I was feeling was, as I said, self-loathing.

I post stuff I build with LEGO on Mocpages. It’s a community. In tthis ccommunity are many people who don’t hesitate to put big loud multi-colored tags on ther posts beggin for people to rate and comment. They’ll ccomment on other people’s stuff, and end by imploring the reviewee to give them feedback. It doesn’t sound bad the way I desccribe it, but really it’s gauche, childish behavior. (And, okay, many of these people are children, but not all of them.) Pure attention-whoring, just slavering for “me me me lookkee meeee!” It’s a behavior that just makes me go “eugh.”

And, yeah, that’s what I was doing. I was doing stuff that didn’t make sense, like blindly pre-ordering everyone else’s Inkshares project, whether I thought it had merit or not, just on the off-chance I’d get a pre-order  or recommendation back. I was trying to get notice, but wasn’t actually doing anything interesting, anything deserving of notice.

I must thank Nick Cole for posting this article. Good timing. Turns into a bit of a plug, but the main point is huge. I was worrying about finding better, louder ways to be the guy who always leads with “hey, Imma tell you about my book!” I was preparing to become a gauche douche. (Those two words look like they should rhyme, but they don’t. Silly English.) My subconscious was kicking up some emotional thunderclouds to say “Look, man, you’re not having fun, you’re not focusing on your art, you’re just being annoying, stressing over this fund drive when you should be busy making stuff. I hate you, and I am you, so wazzat mean, huh?”

A kind of disregard is part of my “thing.” I’d say it’s a bit of a punk attitude. Probably a bunch of punks would disagree. But I say “fuck ’em” because punk. An example: I want to publish a book. Traditional slushpile submission methods take too long and are too likely to end in failure, so eff that. I’ll DIY – the tools exist, it’s fun, and I get to publish it on my terms. So I probably won’t ever make a dime – who cares? I’m better off focusing on making stuff than making money. sounds pretentious, but I guess that’s artistic integrity, though itt’s more fun to call it “punk-rock whatever attitude.”

That’s the me I was turning my back on when I was more concerned with getting attenttion and coonstant accolades than with making stuff I like. The End to that.

If you’re following Beneath White Clouds on Inkshares, then I thank you. Maybe I’ll find success that way. It not, whatever, that book and many more will come to be no matter what.

Final message to artists, and really eeveryone – keep track of yourself. It’s a huge, growing world of possibilities out there. So many avenues for interactiona and expression. This is very new, and very big – this level of interconectivity and information access we have nowadays  isn’t even a generation old, and it’s part of an epochal species-wide change, like agriculture and writing were. As humanity adapts to this whole new facet of being, we have to figure out how to protect and adjust ourselves, to keep hold of who we are. It’s easy to let something so big run awway with you, veer your personality off the rails you’d set for it. So be careful, monitor yourself, and don’t become a whiney, grubby attention whore, or anything else that runs contrary to your core.

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2 responses to “Attn Whore

  1. You are so right – really hits home when my likes on a blog dip below previous levels, like I’m failing or something. But, even more, you’re right about the buzz of being part of a community, and the joy of that buzz, and the crash when it ends.

    Liked by 1 person

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