I don’t have any faint idea of how many people actually look at my social media walls. I estimate that it is some number between my mom and the entire free world (and some people monitoring the internet in the non-free world). Realistically it is probably much, much closer to the former. Like, 3 people more than my mom. I still don’t discount the very off chance that I have some sort of cult following in some obscure society that is obsessed with my digital life like an online Truman Show.
The point I am trying to make is that I don’t really give that much thought to my online digital presence in terms of trying to get likes and retweets. I used to. When I was in middle school, just a supple newcomer to the Facebook game, I used to try and create a digital life for myself that other people would envy. I tried to post things that other people would “like”. I would take “Facebook” pictures (the kind of pictures that you take for the sole purpose of putting on Facebook to show other people how awesome your life is). I could deny it all I want, but I was one of those people. I also would like to say that when I started college I became better than that. But I didn’t. In fact it wasn’t until I moved abroad to Germany and started blogging about it that I really changed my views on social media.
When I moved to Germany, I didn’t want to spend the money to buy an international phone plan because that money was much better allocated towards partaking in the local cultural experience (German beer, chocolate, and soccer tickets). I was too busy having fun in Germany that I lost touch with my traditional social media patterns. It’s kind of hard to constantly update your Facebook when you are actually doing things in your life. However, I had to keep my social media up to date because that is basically how I let anyone this side of the Atlantic know that I was still alive. I started keeping a blog – http://thealmostinnocentsabroad.tumblr.com/ – not necessarily to connect with other people, but basically as a journal. I figured that I wanted to keep a journal, but why not share it with other people? What happened was I started posting things that interested me. That’s all I had time for. And as a result it was the most engaging experience I had with social media. And I can only confirm that only 10 people actually read it.
This blog marked an important shift in how I interact with social media. I used to do social media for other people. Now I do it for me. I use Facebook, Twitter, this blog (sometime soon) to post things that I find cool. To create a record of interesting internet things for my own reference. And then if someone happens to actually come across any of my stuff, perhaps they will find something interesting as well. Maybe they will “like” my stuff. Maybe they will follow my Twitter. I used to care about that. Now, I’m more concerned with things like actually trying to live my life. Isn’t that what I’m supposed to do?