I stumbled upon this site merely moments ago, and was overcome by a rush of nostalgia for the internet that I once loved.
About seven months ago, I watched both The Social Problem and Feels Good Man on a tab of acid. I have yet to recover from the deep feeling of betrayal I felt when confronted with the means in which I've been manipulated by social media.
I made a feeble attempt at removing myself off social media. At that point, we were about seven months into the pandemic. It was unrealistic to think that I was going to maintain any kind of sanity without a level of social interaction; I woefully returned to Facebook and Instagram.
Fast forwards to now: I haven't seen anyone outside of my partner, strangers on the street, and the clerks at 7/11 for almost a year. My Facebook and Insta algorithms show me about 10 people. I am sick of these 10 people. I have no inspiration, I am struggling to make artwork. On my best days I can manage a smile and a laugh. On my average days, I disassociate for the majority of the day.
The internet has always been one of my go-tos for self expression. I was lucky enough to experience the heydays of Xanga and Myspace, which promoted limitless creativity. There was an element of customization to these early social media sites that I adored. My Xanga truly felt like my own corner of the internet. For someone with limited financials and knowledge of website design, it was the closest I could get to my own website.
These older social media sites had a focus on blogging. This has never manifested on Facebook and Instagram. The social media experience has gone from users writing about their thoughts and experiences to users sharing posts that they find relevant to their interests.
Studies show that infants with Instagraming parents quickly learn that reacting positively to a camera in their face makes their parent happy. We all learn how to perform online, and this process shapes how we view ourselves. I no longer am focused on refining and correctly wording the thoughts in my head; I instead subject myself to hours of aimless scrolling with the goal of spotting anything vaguely interesting. It feels like sifting for gold, if gold was completely worthless. The current social media experience hides behind the façade of promoting individuality, when in reality it funnels the user through a myriad of advertisements and targeted articles. Instead of opening us up to the world, they tighten our bubbles.
My hope is to use this platform as somewhat of a blog. We shall see how that goes.