With social media, you can stake your territory however big or small then become as virtually territorial as you feel like. I was watching a Youtube video about ‘content’ the other day and the moniker of ‘content creator’, the video was quite informative and I agree with some of the comments made in regards to ‘width’ and ‘depth’. In that having depth, i.e. fewer followers but more dedicated fans rather than chasing algorithms and trying to go viral is a good way to go.
A lot of YouTubers I watch are more about ‘depth’ and interacting with their fans than chasing the viral. Someone like ‘Lushsux’ is the master of viral engagement, he ends up being studied at university, talked about on the television and generally, his content is utter rubbish but very conceptually focused. A few people scold me for calling him conceptual but what else can he be? He isn’t an idiot that is for sure, he knows what he is doing.
He knows the formula for viral engagement and that is his focus. Lushsux is constantly creating content based on memes and general engagement with his fans. If you look at a section of the content, more or less, it is meaningless but that is his point and I kind of agree with him. It is the reverie (Kierkegaard and Camus) in the absurd but also the constant search for meaning that people find themselves paying attention to on social media platforms.
My focus was always depth and I had a pretty dedicated core following but I wasn’t selling anything or doing much more than trying to open doors for people to get creative. At the end of the day, I realised I was wasting my time because I lacked control over the content I was sharing. I had no control over organising the content, once it was published it simply was lost in a virtual past that was impossible to scroll back to on an average phone and the effort and time required were almost impossible to justify. You couldn’t search the content, so that means it isn’t really an archive, it is a repository that has to repeat itself into the future.
It can’t have one point, there is a point but it remains undisclosed along with many other points. The current point or future point are the only places where anything can exist besides maybe fifty steps back, maybe more maybe less. You build a territory that you cease to know, even if you can remember the last point it may exhaust your device’s limited memory. Your mind and the device only have limited memory and if you can’t search the content and actually own it then who actually owns it?
The only conclusion is the platform owns the content, they can search the content catalogue it and organise it. Then take all of your interactions and organise them into a picture of who you are as a brand and consumer. People say that the user is the product, really though the user is profiled, kept in the dark and reverse engineered to be a consumer foremost. What they do on the platform is sold, the user wants to be the product first and foremost but then they have to give content to the system and hopefully, that can either have width or depth to help them make a living from the platform while the platform also monetises and profiles.
I think for most artists who aren’t commercially focused, the only real choice you have is to share content that is worthless or nonsensical and that in a way is Lushsux’s most admirable feature. Also ‘Scratch my nose’ and more media-focused outlets take full advantage of nonsense on social media. It is probably the only sane way to deal with it. I think for me if I were to go back to social media I would have to revel in the pointlessness of it all. The real question then is, what is the point? You still cease to have control over your own nonsense and you never really have your own virtual territory to organise.
The platform organises your memories and what comes next is the commercialisation of that virtual space you have been adding to but all they will sell to you is an address in a virtual playground. The real information you have been putting into the system is still not accessible. You will only remember what they offer you as a memory and then that will disappear again in the hope of another point from so many points in time reappearing once they have profiled and stored it, extracted the information and fed it into their own searchable catalogue that they can offer advertisers for a price.
Maybe that is why some people feel that nonsense is the only way out or the only valid way to deal with the modern world, exactly how DADA artists felt in the early twentieth century. The commercial work that follows the algorithm at the end of the day can seem quite worthless once the hype dies down after the initial explosion of interest. The other artists who revel in absurdity will need to have a long holiday eventually because it is a lot of work helping a platform stay relevant and commercially viable. I like Chuck D’s description of the ‘corplantation’, a place you slave away set up by corporations.