Two weeks ago, my twitter account inhabited over 2100 tweets. I’ve been a “tweeter” since 2009 and my many twitter handles have seen me grow up, online. This is why I had to mass delete, purge. I owe the internet nothing. The internet owes me nothing. So, I’ve distanced myself at least on a personal level. Don’t get me wrong, I still have a long way to go in terms of Facebook and Instagram photos but this is a relationship that we should all be okay with leaving, at a drop of a dime.
The odds not in my favour
Although I did grow up before it was getting socially acceptable to have a cell phone in elementary school, I was born in a certain era, where technology was moving into our lives and getting pretty comfortable there. It was nothing like it is now and when I did get mine FINALLY in grade 9, I texted using a thing called T9 (ha…). It was back when cell-phones did 3 things: Texted, called and took bad quality photos. Oh, and were great for bad moods, when you could flip it closed angrily (so satisfying). Seeing a text from a boy could compete with the feeling of jumping on a trampoline or getting picked up at lunch and getting to leave school. Those were the great things of my time, and that feeling of receiving a text is still embedded. As shallow as this sounds, it’s the way we grew up. It’s what we know. Now, I work in media. If I were to refuse the use of social media, I should just bow out now. It’s an absolute necessity in our industry to be heavily capable with keeping up with social media trends. Social media is a train and we can either get off or hang on tight, cause it’s a wild ride. I have to be a certain amount of attached to apps, the internet and new ways of using technology, to spread as much information as possible. The usage of this technology has bled into my personal life over the years. It’s an attachment that needs boundaries set, which I’m still working on.
What was I even tweeting about?! Well, it all began in 2009 so there were a lot of emotional outbursts, contest entries, profound thoughts (that fit under 140 characters), timely observations #trending, and just other little nuances such as pictures with friends and retweets of things I believed in or agreed with. The trouble with most of that is no one cares, until of course you post something controversial. I saw twitter as my personal online journal, and I was wrong. Your social media should not be a place where you air out your dirty laundry and although not all those tweets were the innermost workings of my mind, some of them were. And so, I luckily found a great website where you can delete large amounts of tweets all at once (shout out to Tweeteraser). It was therapeutic. I now have 319 non-political, not overly emotional tweets and most importantly nothing that shouldn’t be seen by a future employer, ’cause they do look. Btw, that’s about 1800 deleted tweets and with them gone, I feel so much lighter. I really encourage you to look through your profiles and do the same. For Facebook, checking your “On This Day” every day, is a good way to weed out the bad stuff.
Spin cycle: Shocking
Your dirty laundry doesn’t get any cleaner by throwing it in the faces of people you know, so why would you do this online? Airing out your dirty laundry online is no different than shouting it to a huge audience, only they can’t see you and you can’t see them, so they can react however they want (which you probably wouldn’t like if you saw it first-hand). I’m guilty. But I’m correcting my flaws, slowly but surely. I’ve deleted the smaller apps I’ve created accounts on, and shed some extra pounds on the ones I’m keeping. I encourage you to do this as well.
Right thing not always the easy thing
We share our disdain for work, our rude observations of society or become a social media vigilante because it’s the first reaction we have, to gain as many like minded opinions as possible so we can feel justified in our opinions or action. We want to be right. But guess what? The right thing to do in these sometimes shocking, annoying or frustrating situations is to do nothing at all. Carry on friend. Do exactly what it was you were doing before. If you’re feeling frustrated at the sight of somebody not moving over for the pregnant lady on the bus, somebody is acting childish at work, the best thing to do is feel the emotion you’re feeling…. then realize it’s insane to act on it, then go about your day. Publicly shaming someone you feel did something wrong, like littering or yelling at a customer service attendant is that you now take yourself to that level. They’re a genre, and you just picked up a guitar and started playing. Plus, we all make mistakes once in a while, we’re only human but the internet does not forget. If it’s really wrong don’t waste time logging into Facebook, call the police or better yet, do something. Being a Social Media vigilante makes you a part of the problem in which you’re trying to “solve”.
Let’s take for example that guy who threw the beer can at the Jays game, yeah you know the one. He clearly made a horrible decision in that moment and does deserve consequences of never attending another MLB game again and a mischief charge. But does he deserve the world’s hatred for the rest of his life? No. No one deserves that. It’s not like he killed someone. Let’s all leave the punishing for the ones who went to school for that. It’s not our job, we don’t get paid. We are entitled to an opinion, but we are not entitled to even the score.
Our thoughts are temporary, the internet is forever. You can delete a post but you can’t delete the screenshot that somebody may have taken.
Be social media mindful.
Photo credit: ww.hercampus.com