Hello. My name is Adam Szarmack. Welcome to the launch of my all-new website and rebrand. This is my very first blog post and to kick things off, I am announcing a kind of crazy decision I have made. If you’ve got five minutes or so, I’d really appreciate it if you took the time to read this because I could use your help.
First off let me just start by saying that, by nature, I am a passionate person. When I choose to get into something—no matter what it is—I usually go all out. I can't seem to help it. That's just how God made me. So, when I have a conviction about something, it usually goes the same way. I hope I don't rub anyone the wrong way with this post. If I do, it's not my intention and I preemptively apologize now. So here goes...
I'm giving up my Facebook page, my Instagram account.......and.......my smartphone.
Pretty crazy, right?
Considering that so much of a photographer’s new business now comes through social media, this is a really risky decision. But, after several years of hard work to build up a following of more than 1,200 people, I’ve decided to give up the never ending battle for likes, comments and shares.
And, even though I've always been a big technology enthusiast—and believe me, I REALLY like my Moto X Android phone (most underrated phone on the market), I no longer want to be constantly plugged in.
Why am I doing this? The answer is a long one, there are many factors, and I didn’t come to this decision easily. It's something I've been contemplating for a few years now.
I know that, to most people, this sounds dumb, and I wouldn’t be offended if you just closed the page now. I promise I'm not looking for attention or trying to be on some soapbox. I don't even know if anyone will actually read this or even care. I'm writing this post because I feel that, if I REALLY want to go through with this change, I need to make it publicly known to help keep myself accountable.
It basically boils down to a conviction I’ve had since before I ever signed up to begin with. I intentionally avoided getting onto Facebook for a long time before I finally caved in due to the influential trend it had on a photographer's ability to compete. The industry was already cutthroat enough and I was starting to fall behind. I did the same with Instagram, although that one was much more recent for me. (But good grief Instagram is loaded with all kinds of junk.)
Even though social media sites like Facebook and Instagram can be used for good things—and I have plenty of family and friends who balance using them without issue—I truly believe, deep down, that the overarching impact they are having on everyone as a whole has been more negative than positive. (Particularly for today's teenagers which I will have two of one day.)
I believe that things like news feeds, push notifications, and the imperative need to instantly share are causing our attention spans to shrink, our minds to become desensitized and our patience to wither.
Plus, we're potentially ruining some of life's most important moments, even if we don't mean to. And I see this at almost every wedding I shoot now.
But the truth is, I have been a huge hypocrite.
I have been directly contributing to what I believe is a problem—trying to get myself into everyone's feeds—while at the same time telling others they should put their phones down and spend less time on Facebook.
I am also guilty of letting my own phone become a source of mindless vegging that just fills my head with useless information and media overload. What good does it really do for me?
Going forward, I have decided to practice what I preach. So I'm giving it up. Phone and all.
Will I change the world by doing this? No. But I can change my own world, and that’s good enough for me. If I have no Facebook, Instagram, or smartphone to give me an open invitation to bring constant noise and unnecessary distraction into my daily life, then I can spend more time focusing on my family and the real world around me. God forbid if anything were to ever happen to my wife or one of my daughters—I never want to regret even ONE SECOND I spent staring at my phone when I could have been staring at their smiles or into their eyes.
By no longer trying to push my content into people's Facebook or Instagram feeds, then I can do my small part to give less distraction to others as well. Even if people legitimately WANT to see my work when they're flicking through, and I truly appreciate all of you out there who do, I just don't feel right about it anymore.
If you’re still reading this, thanks for sticking with me I sincerely appreciate it. I’ll go ahead and wrap things up with the part where I said I would need your help. I’m taking a pretty big chance by ditching Facebook and relying only on my website and word of mouth to generate new business. What I’m asking you to do is simply bookmark my site and check it periodically for updates. If you come across anyone in need of a professional photographer or videographer, please send them the link to my site and encourage them to check it out.
That's it. I hope that even if you're someone who doesn't agree with what I had to say, that you at least found this post intriguing. A change like this may not be for everyone, but for me...it's the right time. And I am genuinely looking forward to going...unplugged.
With utmost sincerity,
PS: if anyone else out there has ever felt the same way and needs a little nudge, watch this.