First off, not to sound like I think I've had a huge impact but the feedback I got from my last post was so amazing! So if you're one of the people that messaged me about it, thank you so much!
The other day I posted the first snapchat story I have posted in over 6 months without having anyone blocked. If you just realised you haven’t seen any snapchat stories of mine during that time, don’t get offended, I blocked everyone. The reason being when I first went off to London for uni I don’t think I let my story die - I was consistently keeping my snapchat full and letting everyone know what I was doing every second I was doing it. And it all started because I snap chatted my first night out. So naturally I thought “if I only snapchat one night, people are going to think I had one sick night and then nothing’ (just a little back story - I had this same mindset when it came to curling my hair on the first day of sixth form. Result: my hair went from waist length blonde hair to above my shoulders dark brown hair).
Come January and I slowly started blocking people, one by one. The reason being to try and stop myself from posting stories. It started off just blocking the people I thought I was trying to ‘impress’ to see if they were the sole reason I was posting things. You know, the people you go through the list of viewers to see if they’ve seen it. Then I slowly stopped capturing every moment and instead started to spend time ‘figuring myself out’ (aka was being v basic). I decided I didn’t want to live my life online, trying to prove myself(?) or show off - because let’s be real, this is exactly what you’re doing if you’re posting things online. And until yesterday I spent a lot of the time between January and now trying to make out that being on the ‘down low’ was the new ‘cool’, and that it was making me happy. And whilst it was good in a sense because I did ultimately come to terms with what makes me happy, what I am interested in, what I’m good (ish) at and also ‘remove’ myself from the online world.
The reason I use the term ‘remove’ very VERY loosely is because I didn’t really remove myself. I was still sending snapchat ‘streaks’ everyday, still answering WhatsApp messages (sometimes…), still liking Instagram pictures (and uploading the occasional one) bladibladibla. What I’m trying to say is I was limiting myself to ‘one on one’ online interaction. So even though I wasn’t broadcasting anything, I was still participating in the online social sphere.
When I unblocked everyone from my snapchat story, I immediately got a rush. I understand that I am about to glamourise the shit out of social media, and I am totally taking this to a whole new level. But I actually think there is some relevancy to what I’m about to say. By being more open and public online, I’ve noticed a change in my behaviour offline - in a good way. From the moment I posted my story I instantly felt an urge to interact with people, to engage, to have ‘capturable’ (not a word? watch me use it anyways) moments - not necessarily to capture them, just to have moments so good one would want to potentially capture them. And I know this is a very twenty first century approach to life, but I genuinely felt this switch go off whereby I felt more positive. And I know I’m a positive person (most of the time), or at least that’s how I like to think of myself, but I hadn’t felt like that in a really long time.
Because this feeling was so unexpected, I started to think deeper and deeper into the meaning behind it and why I reacted in such a way. I think for some people you’re online persona is very much reflective of your offline persona, and I think I am one of those people who portrays myself quite accurately on both platforms in the sense that they bounce off of each other. As I became more and more reserved online, I started to become more and more reserved offline as well. Thinking about my last post and how I put it out there that I wanted to change the way I was living, I think this was such a step forward for me and the way I choose to approach life.
Furthermore (lmao, I’m sorry I had no idea how else to transition there), the fact that I want to work somewhere within the online space makes me question why I was still trying to keep to myself on apps like snapchat when I was putting such vulnerable information online through this website. I may not have been very present on my main accounts but from July onwards I was keeping up with the accounts that were relevant to my site. I think it had a lot to do with I was keeping everything to do with my website very quiet, almost secretive. It was my little project that only very few people knew about, and those very few people had probably had an earful of me talking about it to them. Other than those people, everyone viewing my account was anonymous to me so what they thought of me didn’t matter.
If at some point in July you saw a snapchat story of my website, it wasn’t a fluke, I didn’t accidentally post a video about it. It was a very calculated move. I chose a handful of people from my list of blocked people that I thought would maybe enjoy the site. Straight after that post, I blocked everyone again. And it started to get me thinking about what we choose to put online and the whole Essena O’Neill ‘fake people online’ saga (which if you haven’t heard about, just watch this video). The crafted way people go about putting their ‘life’ online is actually fascinating to me. I don’t think it’s fake whatsoever, it’s just very strategic, planned and well thought out. And even though some people put this amazing life out there online but are in fact really sad or dealing with depression or lonely, some people have used it to in such a way that they have created this life online that has now become their offline life (Gossip Girl Lonely Boy vibes). If you are my friend you’ll know I had a moment (still having this moment) where I’ve been into David Dobrik and I think he is such an example of someone who created this amazing life online that he has turned his offline life into.
Maybe this way of thinking isn’t the norm, maybe I’m just a product of the 21st century that is sat here trying to defend the digital generation - your basic 21st century Digibaby. Or maybe just maybe, there’s more to it than that. Maybe instead of who we are offline being who we are online has started to shift and our online personalities have started to define who we are. Just a thought.