By way of conversation – both online and offline – I have been revisiting my thoughts on the internet. In all honesty, I don’t believe I have departed much from my post a couple of months ago. Currently, I think what I said, about forging our own path past electronic, capitalist waste, is now even more imperative. Everyday I think about leaving social media: deleting accounts, leaving a twitter or tumblr to die, creating such a complex password to my Facebook that I will never be able to log in again. And than pushing it aside because I know it’s essentially impossible: if I want to keep up with my local pole and aerial community updates, if I want to pop in and see longtime friends’ updates, if I have to keep “family appearances,” etc – I have to keep these accounts open. Things otherwise are so much more difficult and complicated; or at least, that’s the trap.
And so the battle has shifted to resistance in some sense. Unfollowing everyone on Facebook so I can only see my posts (are you aware of that creepy thing on your newsfeed that allows you to see posts your actual friends like, of other people?), turning off my phone when I go to a social outing so Facebook doesn’t suggest if I magically now these people afterwards (Instagram too), updating less, saying less, and trying to be less present. Diminishing my “perceived self.” It’s not preferred to write about your entire self, because of the possible material consequences with your employer, your academic community, etc.
The “perceived self” versus who I am has been more of my issue on Facebook than elsewhere, leftover from people who perceived to know me via college. It is frustrating to know that you are a whole human being, but for others to selectively interact with you because you don’t just post cat pictures or food porn, but also things relating to racial discrimination (the so-called “social justice” posts). On some platforms more than others, a non-topical format does not work, and of course, an algorithm pushes that framework even harder into those unconsciously using the platform. It’s why (in addition to the realities of race, gender, class, region, sexuality, etc) when you try to present your real self, the perceived self cracks to the viewer. “Why are you so cold in person when on the internet you’re so alive and extroverted???” Or when you have had your security/trust compromised and decide to cease posting for personal safety, people flock to you to express how empty their lives would be without your posts.
Not empty without you, or even the care for your personal wellbeing. But what you post – your production, your emotional labor. Uncompensated labor instead of intimate space. That deserves to free of charge. An individualized Gawker/the Toast instead of a person who just posts whatever comes to pass. You are cheaper than the 24 hour or less think piece. I’m so fucking tired of think pieces. I’m not a think piece.
Someone once told me that nobody uses Facebook the way I use Facebook. I believe her and disbelieve her. I believe her in the sense that the format that Facebook and other social media platforms do facilitate that environment of individualized Gawker accounts, or at least curated spaces to perform oneself. It’s a form of cordiality culture. I disbelieve her in the sense that everyone is fine with it, or that there is no one else who also hates it and feels alienated by it.
Eline has said to me that perhaps it’s not about resisting anymore, as much as it is about moving beyond discomfort and fatigue, and doing something about it. Making intentional spaces, and adapting to your needs rather than trying to find a work around the current environment. I can this space, this blog, what I need my internet life to be. We can never go back to our nostalgia, but we can always move forward to create what we desire – this is the agency we have in all of this. There was always a “better, easier” time, but perhaps what we fear is that the future could be better, because it is in our hands.
And now, onwards! I’ll be updating this site shortly. Welcome aboard.
“And Now for Something” via Eline’s blog permae pupa
“Is the beauty industry losing its touch?” via Saffron’s blog Saffron Sugar
“Hand’s Up If You Have Beauty Fatigue” via British Beauty Blogger
“Let the Frog In: On Guilt and Emotional Labor” via Katherine’s blog Just Call Me Shrew
“Carmen” music video via Stromae