The Internet & Me
Growing up as a Millennial, my evolution into adulthood paralleled the evolution of social media. As an 11 year old, I had my brother’s old “hand-me-down” computer in my bedroom and most exciting, it was a Gateway. This meant that all the cool computer games, like “Sims,” were available for hours of play. My mom’s Macintosh only had educational games. Unfortunately, the computer games weren’t enough once I discovered where all the cool kids were. The cool kids were on the Internet. I went over to a friend’s house one day after school and discovered how much I was missing out on. There was AOL Instant Messaging (AIM), Xanga, Limewire and more. The Internet seemed like a place of possibility for discoveries; a place of mystery and salvation from my awkwardness. My super cool Gateway did not have Internet as I wasn’t allowed to explore this new world. Another problem was, my mom grounded me every single time she caught me on the Internet. Still, mom couldn’t touch me while at a friend’s.
Some of the screen names I created for myself are quite embarrassing. Of course I wanted to create something mature, cool, unique… like puppydoglover38, twinkletoes8960 and I can’t forget hottiehot38 and lilbebephat38. All saying I’m a little girl, trying to be a cool, big girl. There was Xanga, an online journal, which we call a blog today. I spilled the beans about crushes, happenings at school, fights with my parents, talked about my day or whatever else consuming my thoughts in Middle School. Then came MySpace and then eventually Facebook. One cooler than the next and I trying to personify my online coolness with each page design and posting. Gradually, I began to realize I was trying to create and portray a life that I wanted people to see. That life wasn’t authentic. I saw postings from friends and felt envious. There lives seemed fun and carefree. My middle and high school years were not like others my age. I went to dance class six days out of the week. My friends and I hung out in my basement with a frozen pizza, two liter of pop and a rented movie. We sometimes even made videos off my mom’s digital camera, too. There were no high school parties. I was, what us Millennials would say, a square.
A square I am and that’s ok. I’m grateful for my squareness because my squareness allowed me to question why. Why do I work so hard to create this online version of Sara that meets the criteria of others? Despite feeling slightly envious, I realized I had bigger fish to fry and better parties to attend. I realized I was not my online life I worked diligently to create. My life is my physical form. Because honestly, who really cares what restaurant I’m eating at, that I’m drinking coffee or how cute I look. Posting is a choice. Being online is choice. The beauty of our relationship with the Internet is a choice, like any other relationship. We can share our worlds and we can keep them private. I personally, love keeping my life private. I love being able to share when I choose and live presently. I also love being able to share my thoughts or experiences when I find them relevant or worth sharing. There’s a power to the Internet and the social media worlds we have accounts with. It’s the way our organization is able to connect and engage with our audiences. The Internet has something for everyone if you go looking for it. While I appreciate the positives of social media use and appreciate how it’s evolved as a tool in social justice, I want to be present in my world and create change here. If you want to get to know me, let’s have a face-to-face conversation.
Let’s go out and do stuff!