Social media is, in my opinion anyway, equal parts useful, time-wasting, addictive and annoying.
Useful for things like networking, not just Linkedin (in fact I don’t have a Linkedin profile yet, that’s something I really need to do apparently) but from a blogging point of view it increases readership, it allows you to correspond with other bloggers. Useful. Timewasting, speaks for itself. Adddictive is properly proved scientifically and stuff. Withdrawal from Facebook cold-turkey can give you actual withdrawal symptoms and I certainly look too much. I find myself absent-mindedly starig at the blue and white website, not even sure what I’m looking at. And annoying, mainly because of some of the people on there. The ones that share photos because if they don’t a kitten will die or the humble braggers blah blah blah.
I spend a lot of time on social media. I’m one of the people that wakes up, has 5 more minutes then turns to my phone and checks Facebook, Timehop, Twitter and Instagram. In that order. When I’m up to date I can start my day.
I post a lot, too. I often credit myself with being much funnier in writing than real life. A wander through my social media profiles shows that this is somewhat a misconception. I got thinking about this blog post when I was tagged to post my first ever profile picture. It’s going round Facebook like a bad cold. Like the no make-up selfies and the ALS Icebucket challenge videos. I obliged and I wish I hadn’t.
I don’t wish I hadn’t because it was particularly bad. There were way worse (I’ll tell you about those momentarily). I was young and fresh-faced, The start of my love of selfies was here evidently, although there wasn’t a word for it then. Actually that wasn’t the very start; I’d taken shots of my face only in my bedroom for my Bebo profile, but enough about that.
I do wish I hadn’t shared that photo because it prompted a lot of trips through my profile pictures by my friends, my girlfriend and- most cringe of all- myself. I shudder just thinking about it. It was a walk through my late-teen years, where I thought that low-cut tops and borrowed ID meant I was a grown up, the first months at University when I thought that being a real woman of the world meant uploading 48 photos of every night out in a very literally titled album or worse the same number of photos from nights in, it was a wander through past relationships; my ex promptly blocked me when our relationship ended messily but I hadn’t had the foresight to delete photos of us.
My friend text me having looked at the photos describing them as (and I quote) “a real rollercoaster”. I saw what he meant. There were hairstyles ranging from bloody hot (I should return to the long, tonged hair I had aged 18 according to more than one source) to terrible. My hair’s been long, short, brunette blonde, red and ginger. I found it striking that on moving to Liverpool to study law aged 18 I still thought that glitter eyeliner was okay. It’s not.
So I started to browse through the rest of my online albums. Another eye opener. It seems that some of the photos were used to illustrate just how pissed I’d been the night before uploading them, as if the status telling the world so wasn’t enough (thank you, Timehop). And I thought I was clever captioning my snaps with things like “Because we [insert something I intended to be witty here]“. Oh and my spelling. I was trying to be cool, trying being the operative word in that sentence. I could spell, pretty bloody brilliantly as it happens but I wrote phonetically. My girlfriend tells me that when we first got together I wrote texts using the same words, slipping into the part of 17 year old chav, whenever I’d had a drink, using “lyk” instead of “like” and so on. Cringe.
I considered deleting my account altogether, but Facebook have cleverly intercepted other parts of my life. I log into apps using my Facebook profile so if I no longer exist, I have to restart with that app. No thank you.
So, I set to work cleaning up my social media this week. Spent an evening permanently deleting that holiday I had with an ex in 2007 and the 7 or 8 albums where not one of the photos were in focus. I made my profile so private that I’m not sure if people can even add me as a friend any more. If I’m tagged, I have to approve it.
In 2007 we weren’t told about our digital footprint; it’s taught in schools now. By the time I was leaving uni you were warned about what a potential employer might find about you on the internet. But by then we’d forgotten what we’d posted way back when, when Facebook was the new Myspace. We should remember and review once in a while is the moral.