Unsocial Networking – why I left Facebook and Twitter
The internet is a wonderful thing. There are no questions anymore, only answers. If you have a conundrum, just tap it into a search engine. You’ll undoubtedly not be the first to ask. The blue hue of the screen is alluring. The world is truly at your fingertips.
It took me a while to get suckered in to social networking. I’m rather a recluse in real life, so didn’t want to be sociable, even on screen.
Eventually, I gave in to curiosity and the plethora of e mails from Facebook, encouraging me to join in. I did. I did so with my real name, and entered my real details. I hardly ever looked at my profile. I had other things to do. Some people seemed to spend their entire day posting things about their lives – what they did, what they ate, what they bought.
I was utterly put off the whole idea when a very gory image, better placed for Live Leak, ended up on my wall.
I finally left Facebook, the first time, after someone posted a photo of me from my childhood. I’d never even seen that photo of me before. Then, immediately, it was plastered in front of the world. I shut up shop immediately.
That was in 2007.
Once bitten, twice shy?
By 2009, things had changed. I was pursuing a musical career, and needed to use the web to raise the profile of my work.
I reluctantly signed up to Facebook, this time using my stage name. I signed up to Twitter, too. I far preferred Twitter, 140 characters are easy and quick and get the message out swiftly. My message? ‘Buy my records’. I was selling CDs, and vinyl versions of my recordings. It was all going well.
I always use my real photos, but I just used a pen name to distinguish my online persona from my real life one.
Real life was working hard for a living…watching the TV…spending time with my family. It wasn’t as exciting and my pop princess profile.
Things started to get a little blurry for me. I had my real life, then I also had my online persona. I was someone different, a popstar, a legend in my lunchtimes.
I made some great friends. They were lovely people. I felt guild that I was only really there to sell them something. That, they didn’t actually know the real me at all.
Social media posts are utterly misleading. Though I couldn’t see it at the time, people only post what they want people to see. I couldn’t understand why my own world was falling apart, when everyone else seemed to be having the times of their lives!
I began to get obsessive, checking posts over and over and over again. How many likes could I get? If none, before my next post, I would delete the ‘unpopular’ post. I’d amend my true feelings and thoughts to appear attractive to people online. I knew what made people tick, and the payback for me was when they ‘liked’ what I’d said.
I was seeking attention. I’d gone from musical hopeful to full on alter ego. It made me miserable. It messed with my head. I became so confused, I started to not recognise my own face in the mirror. It was terrifying.
I reached the point of no return. I could not continue. I killed off my alter ego. With that, I left the music behind.
I felt bad for the people I had made friends with, but I hadn’t the courage to tell them what was happening. My world was closing in – I had to smash the enclosing walls down.
I logged off Facebook and Twitter, and haven’t logged on since.
That was in 2011.
Nowadays, I keep my online interactions with complete strangers short and sweet. I use a few key websites to post my thoughts, without getting tangled up in inappropriate friendships. People ultimately want to meet. Though I am the person in the photo, what if I don’t live up to my online words?
Because after all, when all is said and done, everything on social networks is based on words and beliefs.
I can tell you whatever I want. You can believe whatever you want.
The truth may, or may not, be somewhere in-between.