Social Media’d Up

In 2005, just before I moved to Japan, I stumbled across a peculiar thing called MySpace. I was horrified. Why would anyone want to put themselves out there like that, I thought. A girl had put pictures of herself up and people were ripping her to shreds. I don’t want any part of that, I said and quickly navigated away. Fast forward to today, I have this blog, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Soundcloud…basically, there is no escape from me on the internet. I got sucked in.

What happened is, when I got to Japan, I saw my roommate was using MySpace. She talked me through the benefits and said it might be a good way to meet people. Hmm. I set up a profile and within a couple of weeks, it had basically become like my own personal dating site (hey, we were in Japan – there’s a lot of lonely American military men out there, what can I say?)

When I moved to Canada at the end of ’06, everyone was talking about something called ‘Facebook’. I don’t need that, I’d say, I have MySpace. But after a while, having MySpace was like being the last person at a party. Plus, the only friend requests I was getting on there at that point were from random death metal bands in Ohio. Yup, I had no choice, I had to defect – so, off I went to set up my Facebook account.

At the end of ’07, this blog was born. Last year, though it petrified me, I decided to start making video blogs. Gradually, one little thing at a time, my online life has grown to the point where I’m online all the time.

So why do we do it? Those who don’t ‘get’ it, say it’s just all so narcissistic to put ourselves out there like that. Do I think that what I have to say is any more interesting than anyone else? Of course I do! I wouldn’t waste my time otherwise. In reality, is it any more interesting? Of course not! First and foremost, as someone who spent much of my twenties galavanting around in other countries, it was just a way for me to keep in touch with my friends – if other people wanted to read what I had to say, cool.

People who don’t use any form of social media love to look down their noses at those of us who do. We’re just all sad little losers, living a fantasy life with no real friends. If that’s all they get from their internet experience, they’re doing it wrong. I’m happy to say I’ve met so many wonderful people through blogging and happily count them as friends now. I  use Social Media to grow both my online and personal connections. For me, one is not really separate from the other.

It takes a while to get used to, as my blog grows, the barrage of negative comments that come every now and then, how people can and will judge your whole life off just one blog post, then click through to some other random portal of the internet without giving it a second thought. How people will make all sorts of suggestions about how you should conduct yourself on your blog or Twitter (how about I just stick these middle fingers up, that good enough?) without considering that they should perhaps start their own blog before offering up their armchair ponderings.

There are a million things about Social Media that drive me crazy (really? Another blurry shot of your drunken night out on your Facebook page? Yawn), but I can’t imagine my life without it.

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