feed me attention (social media handwringing for the rest of us)

feed me attentionAs much as I am worn down by all the things people tend to get worn down by when they talk about feeling drained by the internet, I’m probably more worn down by the smug way people talk about social media breaks or fasts or whatever and how social media is a pastime for shallow millennials.

It’s such a mixed bag. There’s so much shit online that leaves me just like ??? but simultaneously, there are absolutely things that make online spaces worthwhile — which is why every time I come across someone’s rant about how we’re all actually missing out on life because of fucking memes or something (I don’t even know) it’s just like guhhhhhhhhhh.

some of* the things that make me feel bad about the internet
*literally only a few of them there are so many

  • Reading aggressive, overly simplistic opinions on tumblr, even, honestly, when I agree with them. The world is not black and white and when that’s not acknowledged, everything just collapses into toxicity.
  • A wild and unchecked sense of insecurity when I’m not literally showered with attention (or even like, the same attention I’m used to), and then being like oh god that’s such a shallow insecure thing to be upset abt I shouldn’t care what anyone thinks ever. Simultaneously, too much attention from any single person is extremely overwhelming.
  • Apparently I will never stop being shocked by the violent pornography that somehow manages to filter into everything. (Ughhhghhhg….)
  • Carefully Curated Aesthetics & Personas: you need to stop fussing about your instagram grid.

reasons why I’m cool with the internet anyway

  • pictures of animals/jokes/pretty stuff/weird stuff
  • I personally like the process of documenting my life (usually). I keep private journals — over the past 7 years I’ve filled 12 notebooks/diaries/whathaveyou, and there’s definitely something to be said for privacy, but I think it’s just a natural progression of that desire to put that shit online. (For example, this blog.) It’s also very easy to put pictures and audio in digital formats which is very cool, like I don’t think we truly appreciate how cool that is. Those playlists I’ve been putting up lately? Do you think I give enough fucks to make like, tapes or something?? No!
  • THE BIG ONE, HONESTLY THE ONLY THING THAT GENUINELY MAKES IT WORTH IT IMO: Online spaces allow you to develop communities and relationships that you otherwise would not be able to have. It’s awesome to be able to find an outlet for your niche interests, to talk about experiences that nobody in your in-person daily life shares, or to do whatever it is that you can’t really get offline. I feel like there’s this trope that people try to fill voids in their lives with online interactions, and it’s totally true that that can become unhealthy, but it can also be a huge relief. I spent my first few years of college kind of floundering with my IRL friendships, either not really socializing or in toxic bullshit situations, and it was just nice to have hobbies and be able to talk about queer feminist garbage with people who get it and to have a couple of friends who I wasn’t embroiled in drama with.

things you can do to hate social media less, without being a dick about it

Stuff’s complicated. Things can be good and bad and neutralish all at the same time. So it’s kind of…simplistic to run around acting like you’re better than everyone else because you deleted your instagram account. (Ahem, if you wanna read my sorta dickish how-to-quit-facebook post from 2014, here’s your link.) But then the question becomes “how do I stop this thing that I mostly enjoy from being awful sometimes?” So here’s that:

  • try to stick to stuff that you genuinely enjoy — If you always hate your feed, there’s a good chance you’re following the wrong people.
  • turn off notifications — I just like the breathing room tbh
  • focus on your own content  — A piece of advice I lifted off another blogger’s twitter, funny enough. But seriously: if it makes you feel bad to see other people doing well, you gotta just do your own thing.
  • this is some cheesy advice but: remember that everything doesn’t have to be great all the time. Don’t compare your beginning to somebody else’s end or whatever that saying is blah blah it’s so positive and inspirational or whatever but I think it’s good advice. I highly encourage everyone to just go out and be shamelessly mediocre at something and just enjoy it. Being awful at stuff is so chill.