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Category: Blogging

i am bad at playing the part - online

aka short thoughts on avatars, personas, vtubers and building your own brand.

i guess you could say i am having a small epiphany regarding my existence on social media and online as a whole. this will be very unstructured, as i am still not sure what exactly my conclusion is. however, i am curious to learn your thoughts on the matter and whether you feel the same.

the core idea of it is that the internet doesn't feel as freeing as it used to anymore. instead of a place to escape to, online spheres became a corrupted reality 2.0, yet another thing to escape from. i wasn't sure why i started feeling like this. i slowly removed myself from all the mainstream social media, then imageboards, forums, obscure apps. now that i am here, it feels like i am merely on a temporary stop before removing myself from here as well, after i finish coding my neocities. 

but why? ever since i was about 10 years old, the internet was my escape. i could express myself freely while staying somewhat anonymous, i could meet so many people who liked me and who were like me. it was so fun, making profiles, choosing avatars, forum signatures. making characters in online games and eventually, when i learned how to draw, my own 'personas', an original character to go by. i could be exactly how i wanted.

recently, these things don't feel like me anymore. i think it started when i was very active on instagram, as a digital artist. i made a small following of my own, did some comissions, got some fan art. but it was draining. i quickly realised that to make it big, you have to have a certain theme to yourself, a brand. and so, after several hiatuses, i never went back. i am just not good at keeping a theme, being consistent and reserved in my art. after a while, it started to feel like people liked what i acted out for them, my 'persona' instead of actually liking me.

you see, i thought the iternet was freeing, because i could be accepted there despite my shortcomings as an autistic, mentally ill and not-insteagram-worthy-kind-of-beautiful person. but that was, yet again, just another kind of masking. a way to fit in, to compress myself into a character, a tiny box that people could easily check. 

i guess this is why the concept of vtubers kind of scares me. not because i dislike the idea or that i think people doing vtubing do something wrong, but... the facct that this idea is so appealing. and yet it perfectly encapsulates turning yourself into a character, a brand. even if you don't perform as some sort of entertainer alter ego, you are not a person anymore, you are a character design, there to be entertaining and looked at. you are a brand.

i really wanted people to like me, for me. i thought that online i could achieve that. and yet, most of the time, if you want to be entertaining and popular, if you want to share something on a larger scale, you have to start pretending. the internet, especially social media, grew into it's own social rules and ecosystem, new norms to present yourself and to mask. you need to be recogniseable to stay relevant. you need to be consistent to appease the algorithm. never experiment, because people follow you for one thing only. and that thing is not really you. it's lonely.

here's a meme to end on a less sad note:

5 Kudos


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