Everything is Awkward & That Does Not Exclude Your Online Identity

I’ve grown up alongside social media. I think a lot of people my age, born in the early 90’s, feel the same. Social media has gone from something no one took seriously to a sophisticated web of connectivity and an important part of each of our days. During the same time, I have gone through some of the most pivotal periods of change in my life (and hopefully also become less of a joke).

Together, social media and I went through our awkward stages of AOL Instant Messenger and away messages, Myspace “About Me’s” and themed layouts; and Facebook statuses that listed moods, song lyrics and weekend plans in detail.

We both, separately, are still growing and changing at a rate neither of us understands. And the way we go together, that is how I share my thoughts and life through the medium — my “social media presence” — is still confusing and awkward at times.

I think and pray I am past dressing up in my brother’s clothes and choreographing dances to Boom Boom Pow with friends to post pictures of on MySpace. But now, because of how fast the world that is social media continues to change, I never know how social media and I should mix — exactly what or who to be online.

For example, at one point it was acceptable for me to list the initials of my “best friends” in my AIM buddy profile. Two things: Yes, that is hard for me to wrap my mind around and hurts to share. And yes, that reflects somewhat on who I was at the time. But moreso, I believe, it reflects on what social media was at the time. I wouldn’t have felt especially compelled to do that without that being the norm.

And although my Timehop hurts just about that bad on some days (thank God it can’t connect to AIM), I can’t help but wonder if I will look back even 2 or 3 years from now and cringe (not because of who I am today but because of what social media is today).

I felt somewhat of a premonition of this when today, my boyfriend and I’s 3-year anniversary, I didn’t know what to post on social media. I felt a sense of guilt not putting anything (my Timehop was there to remind me that I had for the past two years put up something to mark the day and publicly send him some love), but I felt I was past the Picstitch of pictures from the past year and a long paragraph for the caption followed by 5 different emojis. I was definitely over putting anything on Twitter about relationships. Instagram was my only choice. I ended up with one picture, a simple one, with the caption just: “Cheers to 3 years. *one heart emoji (because I mean, come on, it’s been 3 years)*”

I’m sure others my age and others not my age can understand the sentiment of this blog post, although I’m not sure how to conclude it. Similarly I do not know if in a few years I will regret the one heart emoji, or posting anything at all about my boyfriend online.

Here are some points to sum things up:
1. Social media presences are confusing and what is okay today might not be in a couple years.
2. Don’t hate yourself for that. It’s just gonna happen so *Rihanna eye-roll*. Understand that social media is an evolving monster and the culture of sharing changes at an even faster rate than you do.
3. Be intentional about what you share and your online image. Thoughtfulness (nor a 600-word rant) will never be regretted.
4. This blog post is not me being completely crazy because I just read a Wall Street Journal article on Instagram captions.
5. Just because:
boomboompow2

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