Blog / 2019 / Report from the Social Media Afterlife

December 2, 2019

When I was twenty or so, I developed a plan to fake my own death. The motivation was simple: I wanted to be able to paint in peace while my parents sold my art for me, continually “discovering” new paintings in their attic. Then, when stumbling upon any more of my work started to look too suspicious, I could come out of hiding and admit my fraud. The press from that plot twist would renew interest in my art.

Weird thing: I feel like I actually put my plan in motion a couple of months ago when I said “goodbye” to social media.

In that time, I’ve logged on now and again to enjoy what friends are sharing, and I have posted just once, to promote a group show which includes some of my art. As someone who used to publish almost daily on four or five platforms, my choice reads as a kind of death—both to others and to myself—and I’m here to tell you that that the social media afterlife is marvelous!

The transition was a little rough. I kept feeling like there was something I was forgetting to do. I didn’t just miss the validation of “likes” and comments. I struggled with feeling like I wasn’t being diligent enough. It was as though my brain missed the task of publishing on various sites, because completing it made me feel like, even if I’m not making tons of money, at least I’m working hard.

But after the first week or so, there hasn’t been even a twinge of sadness over my mini-death. The people who love my art inevitably find their way to my parents’ attic—AKA my site and, specifically, this blog. And I am left alone to paint in precisely the way I want to be: surrounded by friends with whom I keep in touch in a purposeful way.

I’ll probably start posting on social media again in the new year, seeing as it’s still difficult to tell exactly how my mini-death is impacting my career as of yet. That said, if I can help it, I will never go back to my old marketing schedule. Being social-media-dead is just too delicious!

Gwenn Seemel in her studio
30 November

The best part of signing off is all the time you get back. Working on Baby Sees ABCs has been the extra special kind of wonderful because my brain doesn’t feel overly full at the moment.


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