Why the criticism?
My last article dates from January 8. Although I have read several books since then, I don’t know. Something is holding me back from writing, from « chronicling ».
I am becoming skeptical and almost allergic to this new self-sacred criticism on social networks.
As a majority of readers who keep a blog (as far as I am concerned, the verb is too strong, I do not here nothing at all – proof), I created a special Instagram profile.
I don’t really know why, but I have « only » 230 people following me (in the absolute of Instagram it’s ridiculous and maybe even pathetic). But when I think about it, I’m a little proud of it: there are 230 people, all different and probably almost all interested in what I post, what I write, what I photograph, and who find themselves on my page, through my character. I don’t know if they know each other, if they know who they are. Perhaps there are, in these 230 people, people who hate each other … Instagram, like the Internet in general, offers the possibility of a dehumanized coexistence and therefore totally acceptable. Being next to your worst enemy following the same person or joining the same group is no longer a problem. In this it’s both awesome and awfully scary.
I think I did not understand what “Bookstagram” was, this Instagram community focused (in an absolutely manic and obsessive way) on a certain literature (ultra contemporary since the goal seems above all to be spotted by the services marketing publishers to become « sponsored » and to be offered books – which in itself is nothing dishonorable). The problem is that what I thought was a new space for creativity and personal expression (even artistic in some), is becoming (or is it already acted?) A huge advertising range. If you look at the « literary » profiles that have the most subscribers, you may be surprised (as I was) to notice the almost absolute uniformity of styles. The color tones vary, but you always seem to see the same photo (I’m not even talking about captions based on enticing questions). I’m not going to lie, I tried to do the same (well, the legends anyway, I couldn’t go that far) and I will explain why.
Social networks, for those (especially) and those (less numerous) who suffer from chronic anxiety, can represent a small paradise. You do not panic at the idea of joining a virtual group of 15k people when in life, entering a room full of 15 people gives you cold sweats. I know it, I am. And yet, once the anxiety has passed (in life), I am happy to chat and sometimes also to dance with these people who share the space with me for an evening.
But virtually, I find absolutely no interest in discussions via « private messages ». I don’t know these people and talking about literature with people we don’t know has always seemed difficult and too intimate.
Never happy, perhaps.
But all that to say that the community can be very frustrating when it resists you. Because having 230 subscribers where the others have 50,000, it comes down to being the last chosen when the teams were formed, in sports, in college. Not following someone in this kind of community is like refusing to sit next to him or her in the canteen. To unsubscribe is to humiliate. Because yes, let’s not lie to each other: social media is the playground again. And you really have to love suffering to want to go back there in 30 years. So there you go, I still have my Instagram profile, I always have my blog but I will never count the books I read as an anorexic count calories. I will never put 3 out of 10 to Rimbaud arguing that « everything is not intelligible » (as I really read on a profile). Everyone has their tastes, we agree. But when it comes to putting 5 in Corneille when you spend your days taking photos of your books, it seems to me that there is a problem.
Let us leave literature to writers and readers, photography to artists and advertising to advertisers.