My kids think I’m an idiot. My colleagues scratch their collective heads. Even my wife thinks I left part of the world behind.
The truth is, I have always had a complicated relationship with social media. After years of successfully avoiding Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram, I am now embracing it with loving (yet trepidatious) arms. Let me explain.
I have always been an early adopter. I was one of those wunderkinder who hopped on the internet early - at a time that required cobbling together a virtual alphabet soup of software tools so your computer could talk to others over the phone. I started editing digitally when Avid’s Media Composer only offered AV1 resolution and After Effects was an underground gem built by a couple of kids from Brown University. I was also one of the idiots who stood for hours in the front of the line to get the first iPhone ever offered. Yes, I fearlessly adopt early.
More importantly, no one has ever accused me of being shy. I’m always the first to offer my name and hand in friendship every time I meet someone new. And I taught my children to be that way too, so they can approach strangers with confidence.
So why have I stayed away from social media for so long? I have a love-hate relationship with it all. At first everyone saw social media as a powerful new tool to solve the world’s problems, bring people together and create greater understanding and empathy. And at first, it arguably worked. But as we’ve learned since, there are also ‘undocumented features’ of social media as well. If we learned nothing over the last decade, the election of 2016 taught us how social networks could be used against us, to divide us, and to drive us apart. Love and shared interests may have brought us together, but hate, vitriol and divisiveness also driving us apart.
To be fair, when I joined Facebook (yes, I’m that old) I could see how easy it was to reconnect with old friends and create new ones. Yet I was always the observer, on the sidelines, too afraid to jump in with both feet.
Anais Nin once wrote “And the Day Came When the Risk to Remain Tight In a Bud Was More Painful Than the Risk It Took to Blossom.” This year, I think I have reached that pain threshold.
With Covid forcing us into our homes, away from the people we love and the random interactions with strangers that make most days a delight, I am emerging from my bunker and taking two solid steps into the brave new world of social media. Or maybe even three.
So here I am saying “Hello” to the world with this blog. Will this all help my films? Perhaps. But as this adventure unfolds, maybe, just maybe, my kids might think I am a little less of an idiot.
Or not (they are teenagers, after all).