Inaccurate Identity, Inadvertent Instigation.
I felt the need to come out of my cave and do some thoughtful writing. Got a new blog; might as well use the thing.
Perhaps some may have noticed that I’m a lot quieter on social media now. Frankly, I was adjured to take a long step back because I’ve learned that social media tends to have a horribly degrading effect on my mental health and self-esteem. Some don’t let it bother them as much, all that have their life together with their dogs, cats, goldfish, boyfriends, girlfriends, husbandos, waifus, and intact family members. For others (like myself), a one-off spiraling chain of negative tweets on your timeline can trigger you emotionally, instantly turning your easygoing day inside out.
Not to mention, I’ve learned that while I don’t intentionally seek validation for who I am, I also have a tendency to assume or presume how people view me for my actions, or my personal opinions, and then scourge myself for being who I am, or why I wasn’t accepted enough. This stings when it’s people you’ve had friendly encounters with in the past, who have, decided to unfollow you for an unexplained reason. Admittedly, this could purely be a personal reason, but that’s what has always bugged me so much about it: it’s a personal reason. And if it’s a personal reason, I tend to believe I’m the one that unknowingly instigated that action to unfollow.
I’ve always been this way to some degree all my life since I was probably five years of age, due to my upbringing and the kinda relationships I’ve had with people I’ve been involved with in my past; I tend to blame myself even when I technically did nothing wrong. However, that and getting out of that mentality is a topic for another blog post.
Let’s face it: no one knows anyone on social media. Outside of my 5 or 6-ish closest friends I have a relationship with on IRL levels, I don’t really know any of the people that follow me. I’ve shared countless friendly exchanges with many peers online and off who have decided to unfollow just me but still follow some of my closer associates. And this has always made me feel like I’m an antagonist. I know very well that I’m not a bad guy, or at least I don’t hold myself to some shining example of perfection; I’m far from it. There’s so much I feel I need to work on. Nevertheless, to be implied that I’m one by not having the closure from the other party explicitly telling me that I’m not one can hit a bit hard.
So, that’s one of the major reasons I unfollowed everyone on Twitter. I packed everyone I followed into private lists and my timeline quality got 500% better, although much smaller. Over time, however, I stopped feeling inclined to fish through my lists’ feeds since it was not so in-my-face every time I opened the app. Even better: it made me a lot more productive as a result and I didn’t spend unnecessary time wasting it all away scrolling through another complaint thread. During the times I did check up though, I noticed a lot of people I personally admired and have had nothing but friendly back-and-forth with further unfollow me as well. There’s no real need to say that their true colors surely shined through in the end.
But, again, that’s totally okay, because I never knew them in the first place, and they never knew me. No matter how jovial our relationships appeared to be or how friendly our interactions were, at the end of the day, they didn’t know me. I still really appreciate their work, just wish all that previous “friendliness” was genuine.
Now it’s time to spin this into some weird “Sage Advice” thing, because I know a lot of people view whatever I write as some inordinate wisdom; it ain’t. I’m just spewin’ stuff I’ve learned and hope that others can learn from it as well:
Networking is a huge deal in the online climate as any kind of creator, even more than when it was over a decade ago. Only difference now is that it matters even more about what you say than who you are or what you can skillfully do. Kids get their high off of words now.
Everyone’s hugely political, mental, and emotional today. And because of that, the words that you say aren’t simply aired out and given time to understand. It’s like eating a piece of cake with tiny cuts of a fork versus devouring it by stuffing it in your mouth and inhaling it in one go; you can’t appreciate and dissect the texture and taste like you could if you patiently ate it slowly, small bite-by-bite. A reaction of the former method would be met with a satisfying “ahh that cake was excellent”, while the latter will likely make you choke.
Preset emotional and/or political inclinations won’t let words be understood. And with that, it’s a recipe for disaster. You can kill a collegial relationship just by tweeting out “I like drawing boobs”. Because somebody unrelated to you (who was probably already a verified jerk) was previously being a jerk to your friendly associate over breasts right before you passively and innocently expressed your adoration for illustrating the spherical thingamabobs.
I have an inaudible mouth on me online. I speak my mind without any regrets, and my honesty can come off as having heavy brutality at times. Even categorized as abrasive. Even painted falsely by people who think they know me (see above, 5th paragraph). Though I make it a point to never say anything controversial, I stay out of dat bidness. Can one blame me, though? If I’m not speaking honestly, then what is even the point? I know honesty begets honesty (or at least that’s what I was always taught), but it comes with a lot of bumps on that road. And I’m learning these days, it’s not worth driving over those bumps. I need new “shocks” as it is, and I’m cheap.
So, if you’re anything like me, don’t use social media a lot. In a perfect world? AT ALL. It’s insane how much we rely on it to even stay afloat for what we do as creators, unfortunately. Just post your related content and bounce. I’m still in the process of decompressing from it, but so far, I would say that I’m beginning to reap the benefits from this change. If you’re still down to clown and won’t go insane from participating in the circus act, then by all means, do you.
As for me, I don’t want people (or myself… yeah, primarily myself) to think I’m crazy anymore. I don’t even like as many posts and browse Instagram as much either. It’s kinda eye-opening to see how superficial all of this is. You know it always has been, but it’s bizarre when you consciously notice it.
Whew. That felt good. (I miss writing long-form blog posts like this. Will get back to doing this more often.)