Photo by Graham Wiebe
I know, I know, I know. I was the main guy talking shit about social media, and now here I am back on it. I started a Hamburger Eyes Facebook Page. In order to unlock the extra features of Instagram, you have to have it.
The spying, the behavioral programming, the correlation between teen suicide and fomo, the vanity, the disgrace, all of it, I hate it. About a year ago I deleted multiple Twitter accts, multiple IG accts, multiple Tumblrs, Flickrs, and Facebooks. I had personal accts and Hamburger Eyes accts. I would start new accounts all the time for exploring new ideas, sometimes on my own and sometimes with friends.
In one day I deleted all of them, not disabled them or removed the apps from my phone. Deleted all the content first, then the accounts, as well as some of the email addresses associated with those accounts. I kept YouTube. I like making videos.
The plan was to just make zines, update blogs, and occasionally push out a video. I kept the email list so I can send out a news blast whenever pertinent.
There was lots of different reactions, “I’m gonna delete mine too,” or “You just killed your business.”
Our monthly sales did go down hill. Even though before I deleted everything I could prove that it should only be around 10% or less, it was more.
This all sounds like a disclaimer or a defensive standpoint, maybe it is, but here’s what it is. I want to do photography for a living. In order to do photography for a living you are either selling services like shooting and teaching, or you are selling products like books and zines. Personally, I prefer selling products.
Either way, “selling” is entrepreneurship. I could go the route of talking about social media is just marketing, and it is, but that sort of thinking is what soured me in the first place.
Before the internet, we would leave stacks of zines at cafes, record stores, and book stores. If I could sell them or consign them, I would. But if I couldn’t I would leave a stack for free for whoever wants them. My favorite was sneaking copies onto the shelves of the MOMA bookstore. Later people would be like, “I bought your zine at the MOMA.” And I am like how did they ring you up or even know what to charge for it, awesome though.
I would also mail a lot of copies to friends in different states. And then they would give copies to other photographers who want to be down. The best part of all of this is connecting with other photographers into the same type of photography.
And that’s my point. When I get an email from a kid in Puerto Rico or Jerusalem or Sydney saying they like Hamburger Eyes, then just that is enough to keep going. A lot of this correspondence happens through social media. This sorta does speak to the vanity of getting likes and comments, but it also speaks to finding and connecting and creating and collaborating.
I guess that what’s happening. It’s a battle between my personal concepts of social media vs what is Hamburger Eyes trying to accomplish. Both sides have matured a bit and the platforms themselves are figuring out better algorithms to make it a more pleasant experience. Photographers and photography outlets seem to be using it properly now and that is encouraging.
Hamburger Eyes is about to turn 18 years old and is coming into adult hood. I have surrendered to it. Now I’m really only here for when it gets arrested or hospitalized.