For the past several weeks and months I have been perched atop a precarious knife edge – on the one hand deleting, cancelling, and purging huge swathes of my involvement in social networks, and on the other clinging to that which I have chosen to persist.
Persist. It’s a strange word – and yet it describes my interaction with the online world quite well. Some are absorbed by the web, some are seduced – I persist. I was here before, I am here now, and I will likely be here when most have gone. I’m not sure if that is a good, or a bad thing.
Among the varius conflicting thoughts that often churn within me, one question arises again and again – ‘why?’. Why take part? Why contribute? Why share? While thinking about this in the past, I have always come to the conclusion that writing about life, thoughts, ideas, hopes and dreams is a form of investment in ourselves – and that giving others the opportunity to comment provides balance.
You may not like what I write, and that’s fine – if we were all the same, the world would be a tremendously boring place. We are free to ignore the rubbish we each pollute the internet with, but it seems some are less able to do this than others. Although we don’t set out to be the square peg when we hit publish, we inevitably find ourselves taking on that role from time to time – discovering that the world doesn’t share our views – and that’s fine too.
Concordant feedback is the good stuff though. Discovery of like minds leads to the affirmation that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves. That we are not alone. That we are not quite as weird as we perhaps imagined.
We are people. While those pulling the strings of the great machinery of the internet might wish to shape us to their will, the one thing they cannot control is the source of the content their platforms carry – us. It’s an oddly reciprocal relationship.
It’s worth remembering that the “social internet” is just the messenger. We are more valuable than the wizards behind the curtains would have you believe.