2008 was the year I first sat in front a computer that had internet. You can imagine my excitement. My smile was wider than usual. I wanted to Google everything from the most mundane “how to peel a tomato” (I knew how but I just wanted to know how the other side lived) to “what is metaphysics?” (Who doesn’t want to know what this is?)
I had heard of a small social media platform called Interpals. I joined it because I wanted penpals from other countries. When I was younger, I’d been jealous of kids that had penpals and I wanted to be like them. I wanted a penpal too. I wanted photos from their everyday life. I wanted letters about the mundane things they were going through. I wanted all that, so I joined. And it was fun for a while. I got to know people from Korea, Ethiopia, the States. Then I got bored.
I joined Myspace briefly… But I got bored too fast. Then of course I heard of Facebook. It was awesome. Facebook was addictive. Facebook let me get in touch with old friends and connected me to new ones. Facebook helped me find my long lost family and helped me vent and write letters to my future husband. Facebook was awesome.
And then I joined Twitter. It took me a while to take to twitter but once I started, I couldn’t stop. There is something very addictive about Twitter. A friend of mine once said that Twitter was like a room where people are just making noise, waiting to be heard. Twitter was fun and flirty. And it probably takes a lot of my time. Sometimes the outrage on it can be relatable, other times it can be a be a bit much. There is the community of bloggers I’ve been enfolded into. There are the friends I’ve made that will last a lifetime.
Over the years, I’ve learnt a few things that I wrote down in my journal as way to remember them.
1. Try to be okay with short hand. There are very many people who will ‘dia’ you and that should be okay. I know you feel like it will be fingernails on a chalkboard to read English like that but get used to that noise. Not everyone is a grammar nazi like you.
2. Never ever accept a friend request from an account that has an Indian name unless you know the person. Not all of them are bad of course but you were burnt by many of them. Your eyes will never unsee all the unsolicited nudes you got from these accounts.
3. Be yourself. Be your quirky weird self. You don’t need to change who you are just because you want followers and likes. Be your true authentic self.
4. Take a break. Social media is wonderful but it can be much. For the sake of your own mental health, take a break. Breathe. Lift your head up from the phone and see the world.
There are many more lessons I wrote down but the prompt called for four, so there we are.