Bringing Our Whole Selves to the Internet

Jul 24, 2021 | emotions, internet, notes

How much time do you spend thinking about the internet? I wonder if it’s less or more than I do. I wonder if it’s normal to spend as much time thinking about your relationship to the internet as I have in the past months. Overthinking.

I’m a tech-optimist. To a fault. My partner scoffs at internet exceptionalism, the idea that the internet is a special technology, more impactful than those that came before it; the droves of fanboys and girls who kneel at its pixel-formed feet.

But me? I’m a child of the internet and I have it to thank for the trajectory of my life. In many ways, I have it to thank for not being a classic statistic of my background so my rose-coloured glasses make it hard to see much more than pastel-hued gradients.

But not recently. Recently, I’ve taken a step back from the web. Not in mindfulness and groundedness but in a subtle, pervasive fear. Fear of the Russian roulette game of virality. Every piece of content I put on the web, every tweet, comment, reply, blog, and image, is a roll of the dice. When I roll a 6, I receive connection, friendship, opportunities, knowledge, and so much more. But if I keep playing the game, I’m eventually bound to roll a losing number – a piece of content that escapes the cozy, loving internet spaces I’ve positioned myself within and is flung into the dangerous high-ways connecting disparate parts of the web.

When I initially became more active on the internet, and more specifically, Twitter, I did so with the intention of bringing my entire self. Every tweet was a challenge to be more honest, to wear my heart on my sleeve, and dance with vulnerability. It was a continuation of the way I was engaging with people in my offline life. A personal development project, the wholesomely flavoured kind, designed to make me more comfortable with every part of myself.