My blog turned five today!
I celebrated it by writing on my TinyLetter. Ha. Because that’s what you do when you wanted to share your thoughts but limit your audience. At least it can’t easily be Googled.
Two years ago, I read Niffenegger’s Her Fearful Symmetry. Martin’s wife Marijke, left for Amsterdam. There were reasons why she had to leave Martin to his own devices but I’m not gonna discuss that here. What struck me was how Marijke didn’t have an online presence and even when Martin Googled her, no result turned up.
If you think about it, having an online presence is like having a horcrux. Or several of it while splitting your existence into different social networks.
Marijke fascinated me in a way that I wondered what it was like to not be involved in this invisible tether that connects you and I.
I discovered the internet when I was 10. It was the dawn of the millennia and the internet is this huge realm where I could be whoever I project to be. Social networks have sprung everywhere and I signed up when I could. There was this misguided notion, that the world needed to know me and not just within the sheltered circle that I was on the verge of escaping.
Friendster, MySpace, Multiply, Hi5, Plurk, Wayn, Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, Blogger, Tumblr–name it, and I would have given you leave to add me. If I Google my name, several of these social networks will offer up a shittone of results of those early projections of myself. A decade after I created my Friendster account, I only managed to maintain Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and WordPress. I did end up deleting Friendster and my Multiply (where I started blogging) had to go when the site had to shut down permanently.
Last year, when I quit my job, I deactivated my Facebook because I didn’t want my ex boss and my office mates to know what I was up to. A bit extreme because I could always opt not to post anything or customize my filter. Yet deactivating it gave me the illusion that I was hidden from view.
When I got hired for my new job, my new office friends were asking why I didn’t have Facebook. By then, I already have other reasons why I deactivated it.
“I did not want my validation to come from social media.”
“Scrolling thru my news feed depresses me.”
“If my friends need me or wanted to see me, they’ll seek me out instead of commenting on my Facebook posts.”
“Facebook gives the impression that we are closer to people on our friends list than we really are.”
My Facebook is active for days at a time–when the whim strikes. Since 2014 though, the number of times that my Facebook is active might only be equivalent to three months. I’ve come to realize that everyone doesn’t need to know who I am or who I pose to be. I don’t have to be an open book and most of the time, people couldn’t care any less. I am not touching lives that way. A few months ago, I finally deleted some of those old social networks I signed up for as a teenager, my Facebook is still inactive, I have Twitter, Instagram and WordPress but I’d like to think I’ve reduced my online presence to half of what it was before. I’m aiming to cut it by a quarter but there is still a part of me that could not shut up. I still wanted to be heard and connect to people with what I write but not because I wanted to be perceived a certain way.
This irresistible avenue to connect to you is something I may not be able to quit after all.