Like most millennials, I have a weird relationship with technology.
I’ve grown up online, with all of my significant life events documented across various social media accounts. If you ever wanted to conduct a comprehensive investigation into what makes me tick, then you’d most likely find the answer amongst the abandoned MySpace, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook accounts.
I don’t consider myself to be an oversharer, or one to write overtly cryptic captions for my photographs, but I’m there. Pieces of me are scattered across the web – some hilarious, some ridiculous, and some downright embarrassing.
Having a digital catalogue of my selected thoughts doesn’t really bother me. It’s kind of nice to know that despite lost passwords, and corrupted harddrives, that a bunch of my thoughts and experiences will forever be stored as data.
My past being online isn’t the issue. It’s irrelevant, really, in the grand scheme of things. The real battle is knowing what to post now. Or rather, the internal conflict of deciding how much to share. What thoughts are appropriate for my blog, my journal, my phone notes, my Instagram captions (on both personal and business accounts). Filtering what is worth sharing, what won’t piss anyone off, what won’t make people roll their eyes, what will make me sound cool.
I’ve always been one to share imperfect photos. I love film photography, shadows, neon lighting, blurred focus, strange angles, architecture. Visuals have never been my problem.
It’s the words. The words that I spend my entire days thinking, dreaming and writing down. I’m most critical with sharing them; which is ironic considering my major career goal is to become a published writer. Silly, I know.
I don’t know when the internet became such a polished place. Sure, we’ve always hidden behind screens, but over time the screens became our armour against the world. Mirrored armour, that deflects all attempts to get to close. To see beyond the curated feed, the witty captions.
This armour works both ways – it keeps us protected from outer inquiries, and ensures we don’t become too vulnerable. No one wants a whinger or a negative nancy constantly complaining in their feeds. We don’t want to be reminded of our own troubles and insecurities, our failures, our heartbreaks.
Until we do. We see a post that just resonates. We add it to our stories, stating ‘THIS’ with the worshipping emoji. THIS. THIS. THIS. No explanation, no backstory. Just ‘THIS’. Reposting something that we’ve connected with, without providing an explanation as to why we’ve found it to be so valuable, is just as puzzling as happy photos with dramatic captions. It doesn’t make sense. We want more information. If we have even a shred of interest in the person’s life, we launch into an obsessive scrolling session, spanning across the last 3 months – 5 years of their existence online.
So you see my dilemma. I want to be here, because I feel left out if I don’t. I enjoy sharing – to a degree. I want to get recognised, noticed and share stories. But I want to do so in a way that aligns with my values. I want to make a space that is a joy to look back on, and showcases the stuff I’m proud of sharing.
I’m definitely giving this too much thought. But when social media is (for better or for worse) a core element in our daily lives, I think it’s only fair to take time to evaluate our relationships with these little apps, and not be afraid to make change. Instagram might not be disappearing anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean we can’t.