My Facebook memories feed recently started serving up photos from eleven years ago. Eleven years! That’s when I realised I’ve been on social media in some form or another, for business and pleasure, for a long ol’ time now. And that’s excluding MSN Messenger and Myspace.
Yet I’m still trying to use social media in the same way I did over a decade ago. Or more specifically, I’m still measuring my sense of self-worth on my social media status.
Eleven years is a long time to blindly continue doing the same thing you’ve always done, and hoping for the best. It’s time to be honest about how I feel about social media now, and make changes accordingly.
Starting with Twitter, my first true love. There was a time, circa 2010, when I was in the Twitter ZONE. The lines between my job (looking after social media at ASOS) and my personal life were pretty blurred. In fact, I basically GOT my job at ASOS by tweeting the powers that be at that time. I genuinely loved Twitter, sharing my internal monologue, or what I was wearing that day (this, remember was pre-Instagram). Or tweeting live updates from Fashion Week when it was still a relatively closed event and not the circus it is now.
At my “peak” (lol) I had +9k followers, which have slowly diminished as Twitter takes care of the bots and I tweet less, about less exciting subjects. For me, Twitter is increasingly becoming a place to promote your wares or to tell people they’re “cancelled”. If neither of these apply, then Twitter is pretty irrelevant.
I used to feel a sense of sadness as I watched my follower count slowly drop, but I’d have felt sadder still if I was regularly updating and getting the same response. It’s not even a huge number, compared to Kim Kardashian’s 58M followers, but I did feel validated by that number. Strange, isn’t it?
Stranger still, is that I’m sooo tempted to delete my Twitter account, and maybe start from scratch again, but there is something holding me back, still. What is that?
The topics I used to tweet about were quite clearly defined – social media, fashion, snark and the latest updates from whichever brand I was working for – but now? What do I stand for? What should I tweet about? Why do I feel I have nothing worthwhile to say? Would it be different if I was an entrepreneur or an author, with a product to peddle?
I still don’t know the answer to these questions. Onto Facebook. Which has always been more of a ‘closed book’ for me. I don’t like the idea of people ‘snooping’ in my business. Particularly people I’ve never met IRL, or so-called school friends who I haven’t seen since I was sixteen. I’ve always tried to manage this by doing the “would I stop and say hello to you on the street?” test.
Like Twitter, Facebook has a hold on me in that I REALLY want to delete my account, but I find the groups functionality super useful, particularly for connecting with people on courses I’ve enrolled on.
Part of me also likes having the archive of photos from the last decade of my life. Yet part of me is also sickened by this fact too. That Facebook also have this information – and Christ knows what else – stored on their servers. Ugh.
Instagram. My current fling, but even so, I’ve barely posted in the last month. Something has started to change for me here, too. I’m literally OVER seeing the same old poses and smug updates from the same people. I hit ‘unfollow’ on anyone who makes me feel these negative thoughts, and the new mute button has helped massively, but even so… I sometimes scroll through or watch Stories and think, “is that all there is?”.
God. I don’t really know what the point of this post is, tbh. I think it’s because I have spent a decade building some sort of clearly defined “presence” on these platforms and now it’s slowly crumbling away. In part because I want it to and in part because I don’t have anything to share. Scratch that, I don’t want or feel the need to share.
It seems funny that I can move on from feeling validated by the number of likes a post gets or the number of followers my feeds have but I still can’t delete my accounts completely. And that, even when I’m not posting, I’m still scrolling; using those shiny Insta squares and 180 characters as a little (albeit warped) window on the world.
I feel like I don’t want to shout into the virtual abyss anymore. But I’m not 100% sure of who I am without my so-called social media status.