My beloved phone is in for repairs and the backup solution of an ancient iPhone is… not ideal. On top of that, I’ve just finished up a year of working rather more than I ever wanted or meant to, on jobs that were rather less rewarding than I’d hoped, which all left me very little energy or desire to engage with people. I barely want to talk in real life, let alone put in the effort to maintain my Instagram profile; but that’s a problem if I care about having people notice and knit my patterns. And anyway I really enjoy Instagram – in theory. When I get to do it on my terms, not as a carefully controlled marketing exercise. I can feel things shifting and resettling in my mind, as I try to figure out what is helping me, what not.
And then I read this critique of the new digital minimalism
and it touches on so many of my current concerns. The non-trivial role of social media in the gig economy. The exploitation of our increasingly fractured attention. The tendency for some (usually privileged, often white male) people to take a moral, individualistic, frankly judgmental position on what is better viewed as a structural problem – and now I’m not just talking about social media any more. Because this happens all the time
. From opposition to universal basic income, or any other form of welfare to arguments that women don’t advance professionally because really they just prefer to spend more time with their kids. And, implicitly or explicitly, it has pervaded recent discussions of knitting pattern pricing.
Don’t know what I’m talking about? I’ve written about that conversation here
, with a little follow-up here
. So I won’t repeat myself, but I do want to highlight the way this is being framed as an issue individual designers need to tackle – through creatively rethinking pricing models, perhaps (see below) – and not as part of a structural problem with how creative work, and especially women’s work, is undervalued; with poverty and lack of support for people dealing with barriers to employment; with the way in which social media rewards and promotes a very specific, very exclusionary and consumerist model of creativity… There are a lot of problems here. But frankly, they’re not going to be solved by treating them as individual choices.