This story is part of the Internet Time Machine, a collection about life online in the 2010s.
Some people are built to break. Others know how to collect the pieces and rebuild. Often I exist in the space between the two.
Last year, I deleted Facebook. A few weeks ago, I retired my Instagram account. Recently, I deleted my Twitter account, where I had nearly 6,000 followers. Peers are apoplectic because who deletes their social media? Friends wonder how I’ll keep up with them, and more importantly, what will I do without Facebook alerting me of their birthdays? Apparently, these are very important questions. The questions of our time.
A friend tells me I’ve isolated myself—what she doesn’t understand is that the act of removing the social burdens we bear is fucking liberating.
Maybe we should ask ourselves: When did we become lazy in our relationships? When did we start relying on platforms that own our information to do the work of conversation and connection? When did it become abnormal to not have a social media presence?
Honestly, I’ve grown tired of measuring the depth of my connection with the world based on how I was posting carefully curated and edited information about my life. People bemoan the fakeness of social media in pursuit of the real, but they don’t actually want real. More positivity in posts means higher follower counts; people want to follow those who don’t share much negativity, and that’s a fact. Funny how we talk about the plastic nature of social media as if it were a thing removed from us. As if social media were an entity we didn’t actively shape and participate in. As if we aren’t the people perpetuating this false reality—regardless whether we’re conscious of it.
The knowledge that people saw my pain and didn’t seem to care enough to reach out was worse than the actual cause of my anxiety.
Because everyone loves a happy ending, a triumphant comeback story.