The Beginning: Creation of a Digital Ego

Table of Contents

One of the many structural changes of a post-covid society is that people interact with their phones more than ever. 

We order food, entertainment, information, products, and even relationships through a screen. It is not enough to exist physically, for the projected digital ego is now the first impression people have of you. 

As reality collapses into pixels and societal isolation creates an increasing dependence on technology for not only connection, but the means to an income, the creation of the digital ego, the “disembodied self”, is essential. 

In 2020 more than any other year, the ability to self-create your identity is the only way to success for the unemployed.

The recently unemployed are increasingly using Patreon, OnlyFans, Youtube, Soundcloud, or whatever digital medium they can find to sell their bodies, their art, their words, and their personalities. 

When the job market collapses, people begin to look for ways to create work for themselves, to market themselves in whatever way they can.

The attention economy, like any economy, has winners and losers.

There are those who capture our attention, our hearts, our wallets and our libidos and those who are cast aside.

Almost everyone has had to endure the agony of creating an online dating profile, a facebook page, or the “about me” section of a profile. To summarize your career on a resume, and to curate your work into a portfolio, we must now always be presenting our best selves.

The unseen masses who demand us to present ourselves in a virtual, always accessible form force those who wish to exist in any kind of significant way to establish a presence on the internet.

It is a requirement now for those that do what I do. An artist must exist digitally, a projection of a person as not just a work of art, but an object of commerce. 

I went through many designs and drafts of my website, but I never felt ready to launch it.

The constant comparison to others afforded by the internet has created perpetual doubt and imposter syndrome.

It is one thing to create flawed work, it is a another entirely to project that work to the world.

I figured I could build a whole perfect world on my own and then release it when I’m ready.

I hesitated for so long before starting this website because I wanted to project myself as a successful artist, for my content to be the best.

The internet is written in ink, and to set my words and images in stone must infer some kind of importance to them.

A crisis made me realize I will never be ready.

I don’t fully know who I am, maybe you don’t either, but maybe we can figure it out together.

I don’t know what to say yet, but if I don’t say something then I fail by default. Maybe saying I don’t know what to say is saying something, and that’s a start.

Start what? I don’t know. I’ll spill my guts and then I’ll edit and then I’ll do it all over again until something happens.

Every minute I wait, every minute I try to think it through, my life begins to unravel further. I have to start now.

It has now become apparent to me that the consequence of inaction is obscurity.

When you think of your personality as a brand, you realize that you are projecting yourself no matter what you do in some form.

What you don’t do defines you as much as what you do when your in public. Inaction is insecurity and insecurity is weakness.

As the world becomes more and more digitally integrated, the ability to self-create, to project consciousness in digital form, has become the default state of existence to those who you would never meet otherwise.

Without some form of digital projection, I may never become anything at all.

So, I must project. Project failure, project success, project thoughts and project words and images as a means to create some sort of value.

It has become apparent to me that my ability to self-create has become increasingly linked to my ability to exist as all. So this is the beginning.

This is the beginning of building my brand, one block, one word, one image at a time.

The Desire to Be an Artist

Most people don’t seem to understand me. The desire to be an artist comes from a need to express myself.

I’ve always felt like an observer. Maybe that why the perspective of the camera has always been of interest to me.

I have many friends, but what I’ve always lacked was mentors.

Many of my role models are people I see on the internet.

Photographers, YouTubers, and Bloggers who promise that they can guide me along and help me achieve my goals.

I bought ebooks, masterclasses, watched Youtube videos and talked to those who were further along in their journey than me.

I went to college, got a degree, learned from teachers who have built successful careers in the arts.

But I still didn’t feel complete. My art degree taught me a lot of things which seemed to be worth nothing in the real world.

If you want to talk about about how art is a reflection of societal values or how post-911 cinema is a metaphor for the fears of American society or how to write a paper at 10:59 that’s due at midnight, well, that’s what I learned in college.

If you want to talk about how to create value in the world and become a person worthy of admiration and respect while struggling with the pitfalls of adulthood, well, I haven’t quite figured that out.

As much as I enjoyed college and all the experiences that come with it, I still feel utterly unprepared for entering the workforce or getting my life together.

Graduating in the middle of a pandemic with an abundance of free time has given me lots of time to reflect.

Before COVID19 and the ensuing recession, I felt like the world was so full of opportunity and my success as an artist would be inevitable.

Right now I don’t know what to do. 

Nobody can teach you how to be a successful artist.

You have to define your own identity, think about what you want to express and how to express it. 

Trying to figure that out while also selling people on your ability to bring their ideas to life and convince them they are worth money is very difficult.

Doing it consistently feels almost impossible sometimes.

There are many people who can teach you  “how” to do something from a technical standpoint, but nobody can teach you how to be the best version of yourself.

You have to define your own identity, think about what you want to express and how to express it. 

So many times I have wandered around places with my camera, hoping to capture something but not sure what it was. 

Photography to me has been a journey of self discovery, but translating that meaning to other people as a part of my identity has always felt so challenging.

With millions of images uploaded every day, what do my pictures really mean?

Being an artist is a process of exploration, of finding yourself and ways to define meaning in your life. 

Starting this website took a lot of time for me because I didn’t know how to express myself fully in public, and in many ways I still don’t.

I live my life through digital media, like most people, and social media in particular has really disillusioned me to what is real and what isn’t.

We see all these successful people online but what we don’t see on instagram is the real struggle behind it.

I realize now I cannot find success by consuming media, buying guides, and searching on Google for answers.

I have to just pick a direction and go. 

I have come to the realization that my life during this current recession is becoming this internal feedback loop of negativity.

I can be my own worst critic at times, and I had to think for a long time about how I wanted to convey myself digitally.

I feel so lost as I write these words. My career feels more uncertain than ever, and my expectations for life after college have drastically altered.

I started this blog because the only way I feel I can get out of the situation I’m in is to keep writing until I find my message. 

I have to write out the life I want to live and find my audience. To search and wander and bring back digital treasures to share with the world.

Maybe I never belonged anywhere because I was never destined to fit in.

There is a long journey that I have taken so far to get to this point, and I still have a long ways to go.

This post is a public timestamp of the beginning of my digital consciousness, maybe one day I will look back and laugh at how insecure I was when I first wrote this.

Right now, I feel just a little more inspired than when I first started writing this post. Thats progress. One small step at a time.

(Cue inspirational quote)

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

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