Social media have become a significant part of my life over the years. Since I had my first taste of internet addiction in High school, my definition of being social has dramatically changed.
Back then, the distinct face of social media that I remember was only Friendster. Fast forward almost a couple of decades later, I now have Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as my main media for voicing out my opinions, while I use Whatsapp, Facebook messenger, WeChat and Viber’s chat service to keep in touch with family, friends and even business partners from around the globe. I also blog in WordPress, Blogger and Tumblr. Writing in these 3 platforms have helped me see life in a different perspective. I’ve met decent, driven and some of the most sensible people I’ve ever come across with through writing. I’ve also had accounts in Google+ along with Google Hangouts, Youtube, Telegram and Signal which I use very rarely. I also use LinkedIn for my professional connections. I used to have Skype. Actually, I still have it but I no longer use it for a long time now for some reason.
We all have our reasons why we keep a separate life/s outside the real life we have at the moment. Needless to say that I don’t see the need to have one. I personally would have chosen to never involve myself into this hullabaloo of social media frenzy.
But I have now. In fact, it’s been going on for years. And whether I am happy with it or not is still a thing I am trying to contemplate. True enough, I was happy at times by keeping it, especially with the people I met over the years that have helped shape me into the woman I am now. But on other days I realize, this is not what is all there is to life.
My reasons for keeping up these accounts had been clear to me the moment I signed up and hit the agree button in each terms and conditions I aimlessly tried to read and absorb into my brain: That I need a voice for when my mouth decides to shut up. And that voice is to affect in a positive way, in any way I can, with whomever I came to connect with through this medium.
Being introverted in a world that extols the opposite leaves me feeling an outcast. In the real world, I am often seen very aloof with people. That I kept myself in a secluded world away from the big and noisy crowd, distancing myself, absorbing and observing the world unfolding in front of me. And often, that is being interpreted as something negative.
But who’s to blame when you find talking to a complete stranger about how life had been for him more rewarding than listening to friends talk about the latest TV show? Or when you’d rather sneak up in bed with your book or laptop doing you know is going to help you with moving your life forward than going out on Friday night?
I crave genuine human connection. In real life as it is online, this has become a struggle we face in our daily interaction.
At this phase in my life, I already know where I stand. I respect everyone who may never get to understand why I am doing things my way or just why I am like this. I was designed this way. And others also were made differently. I understand that my silent demeanor is sometimes looked upon as a negative trait. However as humans, we have core needs that connect us with one another, despite how we seem to be drifting apart in some aspects of our mental, emotional and spiritual being. I respect that everyone is made differently. And that uniqueness is something I often see as a challenge in terms of how I, as the silent and observant person, bring about the bridge and seal that gap with my noisy comrades. How I can still continue to be me and function as the person I was destined to be whilst bringing out the best in every person I met or circumstances I get to be at.
Contemplating about how my life changed since Facebook, I do not know if my goal had been met and if what I’ve been doing was helping me with being true to that goal. I believe I’ve been trying real hard to be positive and to stay that way with my online interactions. The responsibility to take care of what comes out of my mind is something I take very seriously. However, there had also been instances where you would read my posts and think I was on my sixth shot of tequila. Being sober in a world that is drunk in social recognition and validation is difficult. But is still achievable.
I’ve known people who have stayed away from this superficial world and are doing great in real life, without the need for the world to validate their successes, or even their existence. I knew some who put some limit to the frequency of using social media and they could be living quiet but fulfilled lives. Who knows?
But then, it all boils down to individual choices and preferences.
I’ve had intermittent use of mainstream social media the past months. I purposely stayed away for personal reasons. I let a couple hundred of people go to maintain order. There were big things that came up that surely did not need to be told to the world. And I don’t have to right now. I think with the right mind conditioning and clear purpose, I could leave all this social media accounts for good. I may not be able to delete my footprints on the net as if I never existed in this space once, but I think I could cut my internet life short, or perhaps go completely anonymous.
The hardest part of this plan would be missing a lot of people who have already become a part of my life, regardless if I know them personally or not. It would be like loving the characters from the book I am reading and when I was finished reading it, placed it on the shelf sealed with a promise never to re-read or turn the pages ever again. You know it’s just there but you also know you can’t reopen that book again, otherwise you’ll get lost in an addiction that you know you would find difficult to get away with. Because you believe that the more you dig deeper or re-read the chapters, you’ll be intoxicated and might never regain the same courage to let go of its characters again… To unlove them.
But really, are you willing to forego people and be content living with just the memories?
I’ve seen the possibility. But I cannot envision the pain.
On a stormy night like tonight, while the wind and rain is beating up outside, most often I go melodramatic. Forgive Typhoon Mangkhut, alright?