Me time. A phrase a we hear often. True, everybody needs a little “me time”. But the problem for many of us, and for our culture in general, is that our whole existence is about me time. It’s always 5 o’clock somewhere, but it’s always me o’clock everywhere.
Being a musician can make things worse, and that’s why I have what I call InstaGuilt. The constant pressure to promote gigs and get people to notice my projects goes against my natural tendencies, against the virtues that build strong community, and against the cultural and personal values that I want to embrace. But without this relentless self-promoting, I’m less likely to get gigs, sell cd’s or show tickets. (BTW- I have a new cd coming out this June).
So yeah- I have Instaguilt. I’m guilty of participating in a portion of our culture I believe to be overdone, unhealthy and inappropriate. Sure, advertising is critical and part of any business, but not in the constant, petty streams we see in these days of social media. And yet it seems necessary and I feel compelled to do it.
So if you’ve wondered why I suddenly started overkill-hashtaging my Instgrams posts, that’s why. I’m trying to build a following of potential clients and connections. It’s selfish. InstaGuilt. I guess I could start a music only Instagram page, like I’ve done on Facebook, but as I understand it, the appeal of Instagram and other social media platforms is for people to get to know you as a whole person instead of just by your work. I’m not sure if my introvert status is cool with that or not.
Some of my musicians friends don’t really need any of this and have no Instaguilt. They are freelancers and need only to network with others in the music circles they want to be in. My situation is a bit different because, although I freelance quite a bit as well, I also serve as bandleader, manager and de facto owner for many of the groups I play with. I need to network and make connections from both inside my musical circles and outside with the greater community. Back to the Instaguilt again.
Everybody dislikes people that say “look at me” all the time, and yet, as musicians, that’s a part of what we do. It’s also part of our nationwide cultural shift to a place where the self, in my opinion, is over-valued at the expense of the group. In his new book, “The Road To Character”, David Brooks cites a 1950 Gallup survey that asked high school seniors if they considered themselves an important person. On that original survey, 12% said yes. In 2005 that number was 80%. I suspect it might be even higher now.
So as I work my way through Instaguilt to a balance between good business and personal philosophy, please accept my self-conflicted invitation to follow me on Instagram, like my Facebook posts, retweet me, visit my website, read my blog, and share me with all of your friends.
As always, your thoughts and opinions are welcome in the comments section.