On November 3, Jay-Z created an Instagram account. He quickly amassed over a million followers and chose to follow only one account, that of his wife Beyoncé. On November 4, Jay-Z deleted his Instagram account.
Between creation and deletion, Jay-Z published a post promoting the new Netflix western The Harder They Fall, which he produced and for which he provided the soundtrack. It seems he must have also been contractually obligated to promote it via social media somehow, as he appears to have fulfilled that obligation in the only documented correct use of social media in the technology’s history.
“I’m just on it to promote my work.” This is what a lot of people (typically in the arts but I think also in real estate) say about social media. “Oh, I wish I didn’t have to be on it, but it’s kind of part of my job.” This is of course a lie, best illuminated in Alex Balk’s wonderful essay “Stop Twitting Yourself”:
“I know that many of you will defend your use of Twitter as something you are forced to endure for work (journalists, for example, use Twitter for the invaluable purposes of promoting their stories, showing how connected they are and finding out what other people are saying about them) so let me just tell you up front that if what you do for a living requires you to dip your head into a polluted stream twenty times a day and take a big sip before you personally defecate in the water you either need to find another career or admit to yourself that there is something about you that enjoys drinking from the same river where you shit.”
Jay-Z has further exposed this lie, with what he did here on Instagram. It seems he actually was just on there to promote his thing, and then he got off. “Well, he can do that because he’s Jay-Z,” you’re saying. “Not all of us can instantly amass a million followers to promote our stuff to.” Okay, but what are you doing the rest of the ten hours per day you’re on there? “I have to interact with other people so they interact with me,” you’re saying now. “THIS IS ALL PART OF IT …,” you’re screaming. “IT DOESN’T WORK IF I DON’T INTERACT … I HAVE TO BE THERE,” you’re crying now but it’s blood coming out of your face instead of tears, “I HAVE TO POST LITTLE QUIPS TO AMASS … MY COMMUNITY … I WISH I DIDN’T HAVE TO, BUT …!”
Congratulations to Jay-Z. And no congratulations to you.