The internet is a scary place. It’s vast, endless, and forever.
With one picture, video, or tweet an average every day person can become an overnight internet sensation. You can be out living your life when some random lady starts screaming at you while a by stander records it on their phone and an hour later, both you and your screamer have gone viral. You could be on a plane chatting with the person sitting next to you while a couple behind you documents the entire thing and the next day you have hoards of people searching the internet to identify and locate you. You could be unknown one minute, and recognized by millions the next.
That. is. terrifying.
I never use to think of myself as a private person. I grew up as social media did so the transition from myspace pages to facebook profiles to twitter and instagram feeds came naturally to me, as did the progress of how much I shared online. I still remember AOL chat rooms and knowing to lie when I was asked for my A/S/L, meeting strangers from the internet was considered extremely dangerous and everyone behind a keyboard was a kidnapper waiting to lure you in. Every username was random and you never gave out your full real name or where you lived. Until gradually that started to change. You could start checking in to every place you visited, tagging everyone in a photo and suddenly our real life was so wrapped up with our internet one that there became to be no distinction between the two. The people behind the keyboard were no longer strangers waiting to do me harm, they were my friends, family, coworkers and anyone I found interesting enough to keep up with. My entire life was on the internet from my emo teenage thoughts, pictures from every big life event, archives of conversations with friends, comments on every big news story and plenty of small moments in between.
And I hated it.
It struck me almost out of nowhere. My entire life was view-able to anyone willing enough to sift through. I got so many notifications to view what I was posting a year ago, two years ago, six years ago and not all those moments were of happier times. I scrolled through all my profiles thinking, how much would someone learn about me through this? Does this reflect who I am? Do I care? Do I want my younger self frozen in time on the internet like this? It weighed on me.
So, I cleansed. I downloaded every personal photo and video I had onto a drive and deleted almost all my social media profiles while changing the names or setting everything to private on the rest. It was freeing in a way, to be in more control of my internet life, not weighed down by past opinions or friends or embarrassing pictures, but it also stifled me a little. I was so scared of what was out there about myself that I archived this blog as well. The place I went to write down my thoughts, reflect on past memories and share what ever else I wanted to write about. In the middle of doing a writing challenge with my friend Rubi, I put everything on lock down. At first, I didn’t regret it. The pressure to write was gone, the worry of the people I shared this with judging my thoughts was no longer there and I could move on with life. But then I realized I wanted to write again. It’s been about two months since I went on the internet lock down and I realized I missed this blog. Even with my messy writing, spelling mistakes and grammar problems, I missed it.
So we’re back. I know my chances of becoming an overnight viral internet celebrity are slim but even if I do I feel more in control and comfortable with what the hoards will find. Which will include this blog, because it’s not going anywhere.