If you’re anything like me, you hate writing blog posts that begin with the words “if you’re anything like me,” and then go on to describe an extremely specific circumstance which only the author’s veritable soulmate could relate to. You detest creating an online projection of yourself that strays further from your true nature with every overthought sentence. Eventually you give up writing in the second person altogether, and the tenuous illusion that you were ever really attempting to connect with anyone but yourself is put down behind the shed like a rabid dog.
So yeah. This is about me. I’m seventeen, and thus I am the only subject I have any experience with. I don’t know enough about the world to claim expertise in anything but anecdotal rambling.
Nobody else I know has this problem, but I hate social media. I hate it in the way some people have taught themselves to hate gambling or drugs. I take little issue with the actual experience of using it: it’s my history of overindulgence that scares me. I finally deleted all of my social media last year. Since then I’ve carefully associated it with that dizzy sensation I get circling the drain that’ll take me down the gutter and into another depression fueled all-nighter. It reminds me of how it feels to be a constant disappointment. You know the feeling: sandy eyelids, stiff upper back, trying to quickly repress shame over the star trek erotica you just read off some Angelfire site that hasn’t been edited since 2002.
1. Acknowledge my fears.
I am scared that, once unleashed again, my tweets will be so good it causes utter societal collapse. Know this: I didn’t retire from posting amid demands of delete your account. I left Twitter last year as a Greek hero ascends to take his place among the stars.
I like thinking things to myself, and then just… not telling anyone. I’ll make a joke in my mind and refuse to share it. It might not be so funny to everyone, but when I am sitting on a grassy hillock and I think, “Gee, what with all this pleasant breeze tousling my hair, it’s almost as if the atmosphere is petting me,” it feels as though I have spun straw into gold and I am hoarding it in glimmering hanks. When I don’t share that observation with anyone I can pretend it really was the most clever thing anyone’s ever thought. That makes me feel nice.
All this is to say, not tweeting became more a point of pride than the tweeting ever had been. Before, I was shouting all my great ideas to a room full of thousands of people who were barely listening. Now it’s yes, lean close child, keep the fire burning and perhaps I will spin you a tale.
I fear I won’t be able to resist posting my most gilded thoughts. And then what will I have left in my brain that’s only for me?
2. Ignore them and make a plan.
I wrote a book called Advice I Ignored. It took a year, and there’s still a bit more editing to do, but I think it could really help someone! It’s an illustrated (with actual ink, not MS paint) self-help book for people who hate both help and themselves. Based on my experiences recovering from depression, I give pragmatic, no BS advice, and I back it up with embarrassing true stories from the worst part of my life. It’s exactly what I always wished someone told me when I was fourteen: You can change. You can be happy after everything goes to Hell. There are ways out of this.
But the issue with writing a book is this: if I want anyone to read it, and I really do, I have to shamelessly self-promote. That does not come easy to me. All these websites I’m reading tell me, “Oh, you should have an online platform.” I do not have one of those. I don’t think by fans they meant the three friends I call on the telephone like a goddamn barbarian.
The plan is thus: I will make an account on Twitter dot com. I will make a website. I will make business cards. On those business cards I will print the URL of said Twitter and said website. Adults will look at my cards, my website, and my modestly politics-free Twitter page and they will see a girl who’s determined to work past her pathological revulsion towards marketing. This will endear them to me. They will help me publish my book.
3. Delay the plan.
The longer I refuse to do something I’ve decided to do, the longer I can pretend it isn’t already happening. Three to five business days is a good length of time in which to ruminate/sulk.
4. [Technical mumbo-jumbo.]
I’m not here to explain to you how to make a Twitter account. In fact, I’m not even sure I’m cogently explaining anything. You’ll need something called e-mail? This post is more about the emotional side of selling your time, effort, and personal information to whomever owns all these strange internet sites. Research suggests Jack Dorsey. I do not know him, and I do not trust a man named Jack.
5. Remember that I am not that special.
I am just one among a sea of hungry mouths, screaming for attention into the boundless void. “Notice me,” I cry, “Notice that I am good and interesting. Help me achieve things!”
But I must acknowledge that if the void seems uncaring, if I am met with no answer, it isn’t because I’m not good and interesting. It’s because interesting people are plentiful, good people are everywhere, and attention is hard to get just for wanting it desperately. There are so many people who write and draw things.
I’m not saying this to get down on myself. I just have to temper my expectations of internet stardom. Not everyone who’s talented at a few things can gain this elusive platform. I am a good person, yes, but I am not special. Twitter reminds me of that.
I care about Advice I Ignored more than I care about that little jolt of snobbish pride I get from pronouncing, “Oh, Facebook? Who wrote that again, was it Salinger?” If I want readers, the circus of attempting to get noticed online can no longer be avoided.