I signed up on Twitter the other day, and felt the Great Resistance of my introversion kick its last and sink into the muddy grave of social media.
(I’ve always had a flair for the dramatic.)
As of today, I have profiles on the following social media sites: Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and the lovely WordPress. The most developed of my virtual personalities is probably the Facebook one, just because I’ve had it for the longest (just like my future first kid will be the favorite). On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve disowned my Myspace. Because seriously, I mean really seriously, who wants to keep something around that reminds them of their adolescence? Exactly.
Each of these personalities has a hypothetical purpose. Facebook to keep up with family and friends and reassure prospective mates and/or employers that I am not one of those offline lunatics; LinkedIn for professional networking (wait, what’s that now?); Pinterest to hoard without risking an appearance on the A&E series; Tumblr to keep tabs on the sister I worry about; and WordPress to write about whatever tickles my fancy, and to practice for when I’m all grown up. I’m not sure what Twitter is good for yet, other than a glorified “telephone” game, but I’ll get there. The one exception is probably Google+; I just got bored one day and felt like I wasn’t enough of a person, so I filled up that yawning crevice of a black hole with another virtual me. And then cookies.
This is not counting profiles on the sites like Pandora and 8tracks that I maintain for explicitly passive use (i.e. I can open them in a tab, press play, and let them do their thing). And sites like Goodreads, YouTube, Gallivant, and BucketList, all of which require extensive curating of whatever they sling.
And even more accounts that I’ve forgotten all about, so many faded personages turned to salt or ash or whatever other fine-grained element the various powers of the universe choose to curse heroes with. It’s not quite betrayal, or maybe it is but only a new flavor. Self-betrayal, the coining of which makes me cringe. There are too many ‘self-____” words these days.
Back a few moments, to the Google+ conundrum. So I didn’t feel like enough of a person. I’m an introvert, which doesn’t mean I’m antisocial so much as I don’t like mosh pits and I get tired from talking and listening. I have a lot of extroverted friends who will go on and on and on, and eventually they realize I have the door open and am sliding their coat on for them and that they need to get the hell out. Which they graciously do. But when you’re trying to be a person on Facebook, there is no way to ask to be left alone for awhile without looking like a psychopath. Think about the options you have: ‘Hide,’ ‘Ignore,’ and ‘Unfriend.’ Really, Facebook? I might be introverted, but I don’t like to just ignore or hide from people. Sometimes it’s necessary, like in a dive bar at last call. Then I allow myself to be impolite. But social media is marginally better than a dive bar (most of the time). So what, do I just message the person and say, hey, you should really stop inviting me to Farmville, because I can’t even keep my own life organized and I don’t have time for an entire farm thank you very much? Have you ever done that? How many people on Facebook have had friendly discussions about personal space?
I’m not going to count, but maybe you get it… Thanks for getting it.
Even hiding things from my newsfeed makes me feel rotten. Do I tell Cousin Jeff I unsubscribed from his posts when he asks me why I don’t already know his cat died? Not unless I want to ruin his Christmas.
But all that’s peripheral to my main picking bone. Similar to how comedians feel they always have to be ‘on’ at parties, as a writer I feel I always have to be ‘on’ when posting on any of my profiles. To give you an idea of how far my writing process reaches and how stupid it is: The other day, my mother asked me to send a text. Twenty minutes later I’m laying on the floor trying to decide between ‘would you want to’ and ‘do you think you could…’ For chrissake.
You get how I could be worn out trying to be all these persons all over the place. Being expected by potential editors/agents/employers etc. to be savvy in all of them and not turn into the Gollum from lack of sunlight/nutrition. Believe me, I’m resolute in being here. I am determined to be all the heres I can be. But at a certain point you just run out of attention to give, of willpower to decide, even if it’s choosing whether to put a BluntCard on your Wall (Would they get it? Would they be offended? Would it ruin my chances of getting that internship? AM I A REAL PERSON ANYMORE?)
Lately it seems as if we are the ones being bought and sold. And while I would rather opt out of a society that tracks my activity for purposes nefarious and otherwise, no one wants to be the last toy left on the shelf.