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Thursday, 4 October 2018

Can we please stop apologising for being who we want to be online?


Funnily enough when the internet began a long time ago now, (as if I was around to see the beginning of the online world) there was never a written rule about who we should be when it comes to the 'online world' no oath or vow we should make before waiting 30 minutes for the internet to dial up to connect only to be told by your mum she's going on the phone to your nan for an hour so you'll have to wait.

No, but really there's never been a time we've been told who we're supposed to tell other people who we are through a screen. I know that sounds bad but hear me out.
 Before we go any further when it comes to 'the online world' and being whoever we want to be I don't mean the keyboard warriors here, the online bullies, those hiding behind a screen saying or doing things to people they wouldn't have the nerve to say to other peoples faces, catfishing that hurts or is dangerous to another one or honestly just behaving like a total dick online. Just cut that out. 

Capiche, okay let's move on.

There are various reasons I wanted to write this post. Each I'll get into as we go along but the first one being because of two things I watched or am watching recently.
Ready Player One is the first. Aside from the fact, this film is honestly brilliant if you haven't seen it I 100% recommend, it is so visually epic and sort of drags you into it from the get-go. Also the fact it was filmed partly in Birmingham (I and Jay took a lot of pleasure in shouting 'oh my god that's Digbeth!' at the TV)
It got me thinking a lot about this 'digital world' world we live in.

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Now for those of you haven't seen the film let me just sum it up in a little nutshell-without spoiling it. RPO is a futuristic and hyper-exaggerated take on the world in 2045 whereby everything has quite literally gone to shit lets be honest here, everything in 'real life' has become a harsh reality and people begin taking solace in a virtual-reality video game that takes part in a place called 'The Oasis' created by a man called James Halliday. The aim of the game in the film is to discover his easter eggs hidden (within the game) that in turn brings you his fortune and ownership of the game.

For me what really drew me in was this idea that people were escaping their own realities and choosing to be whoever or whatever they want to be in a limitless world as well as choosing to go wherever they want to go, which for me really illustrates why besides gaining Halliday's fortune the game in the film is so appealing to play. 
Isn't that why 'in real life' we play video games, or go on social media when we're on public transport or waking up in the morning because we want to go that little bit longer escaping reality before we have to go back to it. It allows us a brief moment of escapism and we are entitled to that. 

Whether we know it or not we are all each creating our own online characters, either our true what-you-see-is-what-you-get a personality or a person we want the online world to see us as. 

Honestly on a daily basis (this could just be me, or me being paranoid) you question: how am I coming across online? If I wasn't me would I want to follow this person, or interact with this person?




The other reason regarding something I'm watching at the moment much as you can probably guess where I'm going with this if you watch it. Is 'The Circle' on Channel 4 the ultimate trash TV, in fact, I wouldn't even call it trash because from day one I was super invested in this program. Now if you already watch it you can probably skip the next sentence or two. 
The name of the game is to gain popularity amongst the players in order to win a cash prize, by doing so they can either choose to be themselves or somebody else. They never meet face to face and only communicate via the circle, the players have to rate one another and the highest rated players become influencers and can choose to block a player or player(s). Basically the shows like watching one big group chat among friends that all want to outdo each other. And who doesn't want to be a fly on the wall when it comes to group chats?

Or is that because I've not been in many...

It's interesting not only because it's entertaining but mainly for the fact we can see the catfish, the ones lying to other players about who they are yet we get to make a decision about whether we like them as themselves and not the actual person they are pretending to be. We see a side the other players can't and they have to judge them solely on the person they know through the screen and yet isn't that exactly what we do too?

The past few months now as you may know I've been having quite a big identity crisis that in turn has made me question everything. Who am I? What am I doing? What's my goals in life etc etc. And one of those questions was who is this person I am online?

About a month or two ago now I stopped doing monthly vlogs, or any vlogs of any kind really because I knew deep in my heart it wasn't me, who I was being a person I didn't want to be. 
The same when it came to posting on Instagram I was posting 'ootd's' because I thought that's what people wanted to see, perhaps they still do but I'd look at other peoples posts (and still do) and see 1,094 likes on a 'street style ootd shot' and think that's what I should be doing, its what people like when that is truly the wrong way of going about it. 



In the world of social media it's there for us for different reasons, escapism, to connect us to others but especially in terms of being either a blogger, an artist, a writer, musician or creator it opens this space for us to really allow us to explore who the person is we are putting out there online and honestly I think it's okay for it to not be entirely close to who you are as a person in the real world. I know that sounds bizarre to say but if it's for our own creative personality or a type of aesthetic you want to show I don't see the problem.

I guess what I'm really trying to say here is the online world should be taken with a pinch of salt. Not everything you see is real, a true light of a person. It could be, but it isn't always. 

It's about knowing the difference between the two. 

Really I wanted to write this post to put across the point of no longer wanting to feel a pressure of maintaining a certain type of persona online. The number of times I see people continuously apologising for not posting or taking some time for themselves and I think you shouldn't HAVE to apologise for that ever because a) it's your life and b) there is no rule that states you must display yourself online every day or in a true light of exactly how you spent your day or perhaps how you didn't.

I think for a while I've been stepping away from showing everything about my everyday life not because I don't want people to know but more because I don't feel the need to show it. When it comes to online we as people have a choice to share as little or as less as we like. And sometimes we all know what we do show isn't entirely true, I think I spoke about this in the past but I think by now we all know you didn't 'wake up like that' 

For me being a creator, I like to create, I like to play and explore with imagery and so honestly that's what I'm doing. I'm choosing to show the type of aesthetic I want to be. To an extent it is my personality, it's me, I made it.

Everything I create, wear and show is what I love but it isn't a glimpse into my everyday life because as a person online that isn't who I've chosen to be. And that is okay. If you don't want to share your age or your life or real personality online you don't have to. You can be whoever you want to be, as long as it is within reason. 




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