Late last night, I deleted every non-integrated app I had on my phone bar VSCOCam, Instagram, Commbank and Weatherzone. I’ve been going through my dashboard here and Instagram unfollowing a lot of blogs and people too. I’m an artwork job or two away from abandoning Facebook altogether. If you have some zany way of knowing, it’s nothing personal.
The difference between the lives people present online, and the world as it actually is, is widening beyond my ability to mentally handle anymore. There’s this gap between what you see of someone online and what you see of them in real life that has been bothering me for a long while and I’m at a point where I only want to know people as they actually are. I don’t want a showreel, or a series of selected highlights. I don’t want oddly intimate yet personally flattering details about anyone. I don’t want to feel like I know people when really, I don’t. I know less than 10% of the people on my Facebook account. I don’t really know many of the people on Instagram or Tumblr either, photographers and artists and columnists notwithstanding.
I’ve been slowly withdrawing my personality from the internet for a while for this reason. I don’t want to put too much of myself into this thing. I’m happy to share the things I see, the work I create, but there is a lot that is for real conversation only, not the online sphere.
For someone who has depended on the internet for a long time, over a decade of heavy use, it’s hard to push it out of your life. Really, that’s an understatement and a half. I have leaned on the internet consistently through my teens and twenties for help from people I don’t know, to the detriment of real world relationships. I have hidden behind text walls because talking about issues has always been too hard for me in the real world. I have relied for a long time on friendships that have no tangible value, just words on a screen. My mental health has often hinged on those friendships, rather than physical ones. I had given myself a narrative long ago where the real world chewed me up and spat me out and the only people I could count on were display pictures in chat windows. I still sometimes believe it, but that mentality has to go.
I don’t want two or three fragmented versions of everyone I know. And I don’t want there to be two or three fragmented versions of myself. I am me, whole. And you are you, whole. But only in the real world.
Mike has nailed it once again ^
(Also I find this post kinda creepy as I was discussing this same idea with someone last night).