Re-joining social-networking sites

Re-joining social-networking sites

Last week I had a moment of weakness from my values and principles, and I briefly re-joined the social networking site ‘Facebook’. I believe the weakness was born out of a realization that I was about to start full time work again, after having 2 months off (exhibition swap around). In these months I missed so many opportunities to socialize and meet people, and I had the glum feeling that I had missed my chances, now work was about to take up my time, I was waving goodbye to yet another year from the solitary confinements of gallery 4. I wanted a quick fix to ease the feeling of a block period of solitude.
This need brushed my logic aside, that beliefs that social networking sites are in fact a major cause of 21st century solitude, among 18-30’s, and never a cure to it, and I re-joined in order to have some social interaction, as at that moment I felt that even digital socialising was better than no socialising.

To my surprise, and especially to my concerns, as soon as I entered my old password into the box, my old profile, that I thought I’d erased from history in September 2008, re-opened on the monitor screen, untouched, unchanged, as if nothing had ever happened. When I left Facebook, it was as if I had never existed, now I’d re-joined it was like I had never left, as if I had been enjoying the ‘facebook party’ all though the past 9 months!. The past was being altered around me. For an instant Facebook seemed to posses the power to alter my past and present, It wielded a power frighteningly similar to that of O’Brien in Orwell’s 1984. In Cyber space we live by clocks and dates, but there is no past present or future, everything is now, or it is never.

I had a quick check of my mates’ profiles, I had to, it was so tempting. Then suddenly I found me again. I realised how much I didn’t want to be part of this place. So, as fast as my fingers could run, I scrolled across the options until I found ‘de-activate account’.

To my surprise and ever more concern, I found that when I was on my facebook ‘Bonn Voyage’ screen, there was pictures of many of those cyber friends I’d made back into 2008, their profile photo’s had changed. They now featured images of myself – photos they had which featured me in their digital album collection – above messages saying “we’ll miss you john!”.
For a brief moment I was caught, I forgot to question how they could have possibly known I was back for all of those 3 minutes, and facebook had hold of the strings of my heart, and got me thinking “these people remember me!, I’m remembered!!”.

Thankfully I ‘woke up’ in time from my lapse into the trap. This site was using ’emotional persuasion’ to try and prevent me from leaving its captive audience of members. This time, thankfully, It didn’t work (If you think I am making this up, go and try to quit, and I promise this screen will come up before you).

Emotional persuasion, is the name of the game with social networking sites, you can be a member and not play that game, but I am a man with both an habitual and socially discontent personality, and emotions can talk louder that logic when one is glum. so quiting was my best option.

(print screen, of emotional persuasion when trying to leave the site, you’ll need to open it in another window to view properly. Sorry if you have appeared on this Facebook screen, it was them who made up the story that you’d miss me, so blame them!)

My most recent piece of work ‘the alpha Forest’ was largely inspired by my experiences of both MySpace and Facebook. Places in which people are screaming “me, me me, look at me I’m special!!!”. 200 million people all using one site with a limited option of page layouts, all believing in their true individuality.

“Today, the 17th july at 9pm, John Ledger walked back to Facebook for good. He knew it, he finally loved facebook”

The Alpha forest (image 1)

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About John Ledger

A visual Artist, eternal meanderer and obsessive self-reflector by nature, who can’t help but try to interpret everything from within the tide of society. His works predominantly take the form of large scale ballpoint pen landscape drawings and map-making as social/psychological note-making. They are slowly-accumulating responses to crises inflicted upon the self in the perplexing, fearful, empty, and often personality-erasing human world.

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