Collecting Photos… {and social media musings}

Hi friends! I just got back from a couple of days away in New Brunswick, Canada. It was the first time since you needed a passport to cross the border that I have visited and the first time the kids have been. It was lovely.  Feel free to use any of the photos share today to paint from (I will do some tutorials for them in the future.)

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We didn’t have much of a plan except to “get away from it all” and do something marginally educational to keeps the kids brains from turning to mush over the summer so we headed to King’s Landing, a living history village near Fredericton. It was so pretty there and I took lots of reference photos for future paintings.

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The thing that struck me most while at Kings Landing was how ingenuitive people were back in the 1800’s. The tools and machines they had to invent to cut wood and build homes and how much they got done! It got me thinking that we have so much convenience in our modern times, and the same number of hours in a day, but we get less done and feel busy and overwhelmed most of the time. (Disclaimer: there are many people who get way more done than I do in a day and I am fully admitting I am naturally lazy and am speaking for myself here.) 😀 I kinda felt like Mr. Weasley from Harry Potter as he marveled at all of the cool inventions that muggles made to get things done without magic. I mean, just think, we can pull our little magic boxes out of our pockets and find any info we need in seconds, it’s is kinda magical.

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But there is a downside to this instant access always-on society. If we can just look something up instantly it can squash out desire to discover things for ourselves. Or we can look up something with the intention of acting on the information but end up getting sucked into the rabbit hole of the internet. We have all joked about hopping on Pinterest “for just a minute” to look up a recipe only to look up and see hours have past and your kids are eating cereal for dinner but what you might not realize is that social media is designed that way on purpose.

As a blogger and YouTuber my goal is to inspire people to create awesome art and craft projects. I am thrilled if you are so inspired to create after watching a video that you shut off the computer and grab your supplies but YouTube sees my videos as a failure if you do that. Sounds weird right? YouTube and every other social media network has one goal, to keep you glued to the platform as long as possible. They all use complex algorithms to serve you content that is likely to keep your eyes glued on the screen. If you go on Facebook you are not seeing posts from friends and people/companies you follow in chronological order, you are seeing them in order of interest, or what Facebook thinks you will be interested in most and keep you on the platform longer so you can see more advertisements. since social media is “free” entertainment it is ad-supported and instead of paying to use these sites with money you pay with your data (all of this info is in the terms of use you agree to when you sign up) and it is cataloging all of the other websites you visit so it can serve you relevant ads for products you have looked at. I remember how creepy it felt the first time I saw an ad for the markers I was just looking at on facebook. Yes, Big Brother is watching.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not against advertising. The ads on my YouTube videos make it possible for me to make tutorials for free. What I am against is algorithms that make us become addicted to these platforms. There is a lot of good that can come from social networking, we just need to make sure that we are using social media and not the other way around.

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I am not perfect, I get sucked into Facebook too but when I start to feel anxious or angry or lonely I know it is time to close the computer and spend time with real people or work on a project that will last. Most of the time I don’t even remember what I just read or saw on social media. It can’t be that important then, but the feeling of empty anxiety remains.  I think this feeling comes from the fear-mongering from popular articles that are shared as well as the feeling of insecurity we get when comparing out real lives to the “highlight reel” we see of other people’s lives on social media. Many years ago I read 8 Weeks to Optimum Health by Dr. Andrew Weil and one of the things he recommended was cutting out all news media because if it is really important you will hear about it. This book was written before social media, I can only imagine what he would say about that! He also talks about walking every day and I recommend that advice as well because you can do it at most fitness levels, even if it is just a walk to your mailbox it is so beneficial for health and well-being.

Do you ever get sucked down the rabbit hole of social media? Let me know in the comments below! Share your tips for breaking the spell of the glowing screen. I think it is easier to break away once we realize that it is designed and engineered to be addictive. I think we should take advantage of the wonderful benefit of these social sites but also be aware of the trappings so we can take control of our one truly finite resource; our time.

BTW, that cool little computer that you have in your pocket, did you know you can call a friend with it? You can even make plans to see someone in real-life:) It takes more effort than just scrolling but it’s what makes life worthwhile. Thanks for reading through this long Monday musing. I’ll have a new stamping project for you tomorrow, til then happy crafting!

Disclosure: The link to the book 8 Weeks to Optimum Health is an Amazon affilate link but you can always borrw the book for free from your local library:)

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