How to [Feel] in the Digital Age

Today is someone’s birthday. It’s always someone’s birthday. News article. This guy is in a new relationship, already? News Article. Wasn’t he dating so and so? News Article. #BlackLivesMatter. News Article. She’s ranting again about how she can never meet a good man. News Article. Is this person ever not on vacation? News Article. What a cute puppy! News Article. Will my grandma stop sending me game requests?

My newsfeed has made me numb to these kind of wandering thoughts. As someone who makes a living pandering to an audience on social media, it has made me think of how people interact on a personal level. Curating social media for a major faceless organization is not the same as writing clever tweets about Starbucks and hipsters.

The concept of how we share ourselves online has been the topic of think pieces since social media became a part of our daily lives. How many news reports have you seen with scary headlines like “What do you know about your teenager’s secret life online?”

Ten years ago my parents would warn me about talking to strangers online, now I get to talk to strangers all day long.

Lately I’ve noticed a trend on my newsfeed -my Facebook friends have to explain every little aspect of their lives. Why?

Because we over share.

A Facebook friend of mines recently went through a very traumatic experience. They lost a child. This was someone who very much wanted to be a parent. Their feed was littered with baby fever. Honestly, at one point I was over the constant baby talk. My fondness for children is slightly different, but I’m not a parent so I’ll never understand that world.

So when the news broke on Facebook, I wonder, what must it feel like to share that sort of information with people you’ve barely seen in years? Did they have to share this because they already shared every other aspect of their pregnancy? Should we expect that if we post happy snippets of our life, we must also be expected to share the more ugly aspects? Is this even healthy?

For me, certain social media platforms became my way to share my voice. As an introverted child and teenager, I didn’t always speak what was on my mind. Finding AllPoetry, Livejournal and later on Tumblr, allowed me to create a diary for the world of unknowns to share.

What started off as a community for like-minded individuals, ended up becoming exhausting pandering. The more my audience grew, the more questions, the more assumptions of having insight into my personal life. You feel like a product, a form of entertainment, and nothing more than just a faceless blogger in a sea of entertainment.

I needed a break from it all.

I still blog. I still write. I still posts photos on Instagram and all the other platforms. But I’m careful at what I share. I’m more overprotective over my personal life. We should still share, but think before we post. Watching my newsfeed has taught me not to take my privacy for granted.

Purchasing a moleskin notebook for journaling was one of my best decisions. Sometimes  my ‘I love you’ needs to be scribbled in my terrible shorthand, rather than on a feed for 409 people to take notice.

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