Quick note - as of me editing this post on March 15, my Instagram account has been reinstated. I’m still going to actively avoid using it unless necessary, as I stated in this post, and I’ve also added “Share To” buttons to these blog pages and to the galleries if you wish to show off my work to some folks or talk about what I have to say on this blog. Either way, I appreciate you all reading, as usual. You’re amazing and don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not, as always. On with the post…
So, uh. yeah. Sup, y’all. Title says it all.
I’m no stranger to getting in trouble. I’ve spent half my life getting in trouble. Hell, to a lot of people I am trouble. That’s kind of half the reason I ended up in this field to begin with–as I’ve stated in interviews before, there was a point in time where being a minor menace to society was a prerequisite to this profession and no one notified me when that switched to needing to be an advertiser-friendly influencer.1
With that stated, usually I know what I did and I’m not exactly shy about owning up to it if I feel particularly bad about it or telling you to get bent if I don’t. And in this case, I’ve got nothing. I just hit the “post” button to put some new art up I was working on, and I got hit with a fun little message telling me my account was “disabled” and was pending a “review” to even get reinstated.
I ain’t gonna lie here, I have no idea why I got hit with this.
My best guess–if I could even approach a guess2–is one of two options. One, I have not had what anyone could consider a functional smartphone in months. I always post from their meagerly-featured web client when I have to post, and I don’t have The App anywhere. I keep a LineageOS device around that I often forget to pay the bill on for two-factor authentication, taking photos of my work, and other such nonsense, and it doesn’t leave the house. I also have a flip phone so the few people who would actually be worried if I disappeared into the woods can know vaguely where I am. That’s it. I don’t have the Google Play store on a device that isn’t kept either off or in a Faraday cage, which is why the fun last request at the end of multiple 2FA verifications to let Instagram determine whether I’m human enough for their standards kind of unsettled the fuck out of me.
To be honest, there was like 30 minutes where I just kind of considered letting it die and not bothering. I don’t exactly think I’m off center for not particularly wanting to participate in what some police offices consider standard booking procedure to prove to Mr. Metaverse that I’m not a fuckin’ robot, especially since I’m fairly certain that it’s not exactly off-key to assume they just want more pictures of human faces for their own AI bots.
(Which brings me to the second and only other reason I can think of that I might have gotten banned: I have a habit of telling the numerous spambots that accost my feed to blow it out their ass, and there’s a distinct possibility that one of the scammers-with-a-thousand-faces decided to mass report me for either profanity or impersonation.)
I did hold the Metaverse’s version of a mug shot booking card with my middle and index finger so that I could flip the camera off in the selfie, so while I probably am not getting the account back I am at least getting the last jab in.
To be frank, I probably won’t return to mainstream social media even if my Instagram account gets reinstated. I know that fucks me as far as my work and livelihood goes, but I honestly don’t think it’s worth the cost on my psyche. I cold-turkeyed Twitter after Musk took over, even though half the industry seems to only put open calls for work on that website despite the site’s open hostility to nearly every single marginalized group, including and especially trans folk.3 My time on Twitter was mostly spent watching other creators constantly cannibalize each other and undermine each other in the fight for eyeballs, and it got to a point where that was not how I wanted to do this anymore. Musk letting the alt-right kids back on in droves kind of gave me the excuse to cut the cord. The plan was to eventually yeet Instagram as well once I had a decent foothold on getting this blog loaded up with things to read, but it looks like that decision has been made for me.
And yes, I do know that my account is “pending review”, but given the fact that the bit of research I’ve done seems to have given an answer of “a week to never” as to when I’ll have access to it, I’m going to behave as if it is permanently 86’d. If it does get re-instated, I’ll use it to let folks know when I have a new blog post up, but the pandemic was the last variation upon a theme of the Eternal September that I have the patience to deal with in my lifetime, at least directly. I have joined a couple smaller social networks that specifically cater to illustrators, and when I have my account set up there I’ll probably share them here and add a “social” section to the navbar to hold them all.
I’m also most likely going to add some “Share to $OPEN_SOURCE_FORUM”-type button to the blog posts in the future when I can be bothered to work them into the code, and if I can find a way to do so that won’t end up with me getting bombarded with either spam or transphobic slurs I might add a comment section. I do want my work to be shared with those who want to read it, but to be honest I don’t want to hear from folks who want to use the comment section to willfully misinterpret what I have to say at best or insult me or try and sell me something at worst.
Currently, you can find me on Pillowfort, a comfy old-school Tumblr clone with no NSFW ban, and Cohost, a microblogging platform with about the same vibe. As of the time of pushing this article to the server, I don’t have any content on either yet, but I will soon.
I’m not particularly sure about whether or not I’m going to join Mastodon, but I will be adding a “Share on Mastodon” button to the blog soon enough.
Minor editor’s note–I found out that Rusty Hodge, the guy who founded Soma.FM and a large part of why I got into DJing on internet radio in the first place, hangs out on DEF CON’S Mastodon server. I also found out that DEF CON has a server, which in and of itself is tight as hell. So yeah, I kind of caved in and joined Mastodon. You can find me on defcon.social here.
With that stated, I’m kind of leaning towards the model I have already kind of put forth here–if you enjoy my work and want to interact with me about it, email me, send something to the PO box, or simply find me at a convention or when I’m having a book signing or something. I love hearing from all of you and listening to your reactions to my work, but to be quite frank I would rather talk with you all about it than have what we’re talking about get muddied in the shallowness of a walled garden’s comment section. If I get emails with particularly interesting questions which I want to make sure to respond to, I’ll definitely toss them into a “letterbag” section on this blog.
My work is how I communicate and interact with the world around me. It seems a fool’s game to limit your ability to communicate back to two hundred and fourty characters, especially with algorithms that monetize constantly pitting us all against each other. Time will tell how badly this fucks my career up, but for now, I suppose my move is not to play. Let’s hope it’s at least a somewhat winning one in the end.
Either way, I appreciate having all of you along for the ride. You’re all amazing and don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not. Talk soon.
I have multiple rants on why and how that entire switch was an awful move for both the medium and the majority of interesting creators, but that’s another rant for another time. ↩︎
I’m not even sure I could approach a guess, to be honest. These algorithms don’t seem to have a thought process that falls in the realm of any kind of reasoning I’d consider human. And no, I don’t consider capitalist “growth mindset” nonsense or the walled-prison-type designs commonplace in the modern Web a part of any kind of reasoning I’d consider human. ↩︎
The entire concept of Pitmad and half the links on Comic Book Resources are some fairly decent examples of my point here. I’m not linking them here because I don’t like the job they’re doing–all of the people running these are fantastic individuals, to the best of my knowledge/interactions with them–but rather to illustrate this point. ↩︎