Online Life

² In or into operation or existence.
→ ‘Online‘ as adverb

I’ve always been a fond user of social media, and regardless of the countless theories and articles about the endless downsides of it, including the somewhat downfall of social life as we used to know it (which is portrayed brilliantly in this episode of Black Mirror) – I still find that social media, in the end, is what you make of it.

For me, it started out pre-facebook with an online gay dating site which was my only window into a gay world, as I was quite literally the only gay in the village I grew up in. My very first safe-place was my own room, my kingdom from where I ruled the internet as I would sit countless nights waiting for the MSN avatar of my online soul-mates (yes, plural) turn from red to green, and see a long anticipated message finally tick in.

This is a somewhat fascinating generation to have been born into. I feel privileged to have seen social media evolve from single intriguing mind-boggling instantaneous 28.8 kb/s connections across the globe, to the full-blown always-online life that we live today.

And as I said – it is what we make of it. Sometimes, we make ourselves with it. Even construct ourselves. In my own experience, I would catch my self trying to live up to the so-called ‘persona’ my social media would portray me as. Social media allows you to write and edit your life’s story in a format of a timeline consisting of images, videos, tweets, snaps, boomerangs and so on and so forth.

Scrolling through my own virtual timeline, I notice the overwhelming amount of gaps between memories big and small, but I remember those times maybe clearer than the ones I am reminded of right in front of my eyes.

The less successful stories of my life aren’t there.

Everything we say or do in life is a watered-down crystallisation of our original thoughts and intentions; no one can perfectly explain exactly what is going on in their mind without having to cut some corners for the sake of daily communication. It’s a no-brainer for anyone that this also counts for our social media activity. None the less it seems like media imitates man when it comes to keeping face(book?). We tend to cut out, censor or moderate the things in our lives that put us in a bad light. Obviously.

This is an issue, though, when we forget that everyone else is doing the same. And some – including myself – can have this other horrible human habit: Comparing one self to others. We compare to relate, and if we don’t relate we either try to adjust or disconnect – figuratively speaking, in this case.

We are fed improbable ideals that feed our confidence or lack of same, depending on which end of the weight scale you’re on. And to make things even more confusing, it sometimes feels like you’re on both ends at the same time, leaving you somewhere in an existential limbo of feeling content and completely inadequate in a constant oscillating motion.

So, how do we move on from here? Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s an one-answer-fits-all kind of thing. Personally, my movement started with an actual move from Copenhagen to Amsterdam, with an inner promise of not lying anymore to myself, or pretend to be someone I’m not to please others.

This is why my social media posts will have their moments of both shine and shadow, as I’m slowly transgressing beyond holding myself – fully – to that promise. It’s not as easy as it sounds, and 2018 will be a more challenging year for me than ever before.

Oh, and for the record: We might have exchanged MSN for WhatsApp, but sometimes it all still just comes down to waiting for that one message to tick in that makes you feel on top of the world again.

January 21, 2018


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