I’m not sure when this feeling started – maybe a few days ago, or a few weeks, or even a few months ago. It feels like I’m slowly disconnecting from the social internet. I read a piece by a journalist earlier, where she made a forthright speech about not installing Instagram on her new mobile phone, and I rather sanctimoniously found myself thinking “told you so”.
It’s jarring in a way, because I used to share so much. I have been a member of Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, and WordPress for as long as I can remember. On occasion I’ve also been a member of some of the more “fringe” social networks, such as Blogger, LiveJournal, Reddit, Ello, Posterous, Vox, Yahoo 360, and so on. Until quite recently I would wander taking photos each day, and share cropped, filtered versions of them to whoever might discover them. It never occurred to me to wonder why I was doing it. I still don’t know why.
And yet I’m still writing – still recording the mundane happenings of my fairly ordinary life, and posting them out in public. Sure, I don’t attach my name directly to them (actually that’s a lie – if you know where to look, you can connect the dots), but I’m still posting these words. I don’t know why I keep writing either.
During a quiet moment this afternoon I looked around at the people I follow on Tumblr and WordPress, and couldn’t help thinking their lives are far more interesting than my own. Perhaps that’s why I follow them – to vicariously live through their posts. I’ve written about it before. It’s the old “grass is greener” thing, isn’t it.
This evening an email arrived from a distant friend. The email signed off with “Your biggest fan”. I felt both like a fraud, and like I might do cartwheels up and down the hallway. I never think about people actually reading the stuff I post – I never consider that somebody might actually enjoy reading any of it. Perhaps it’s best that I don’t.
I’m smiling while writing this though. Because as much as I have distanced myself from the social internet in recent months, the thought that somebody out there likes these idiotic ramblings has kind of made my day. While sitting with my cousin in a bar once, she scoffed at the thought that I had any defences against her – I’ve never forgotten her words:
“Your walls are made of mud, and I am the rain.”
I’m starting to suspect that anybody that takes an interest in me is a rainstorm of a sort.