The Internet has become one of two things for twenty-somethings. Either it is used as an online confessional (no priest required) or it’s a place where people can conjure up whatever image they want of themselves and run with it. I use it as the former.
Dreamville rapper Omen posted a tweet in October that stuck out to me. He said “some people should be who they are online for Halloween”. It’s true. So many people can hide behind their screens and dictate their public image through tweets and Facebook posts, when in reality they are nothing like they portray themselves to be online.
But then on the flipside, you have people like me, who use the Internet as an online confessional board, revealing hard truths (sometimes too many) and putting their political and personal beliefs in the crossfire for internet trolls everywhere to bash with brute force.
I’m not saying one is better than the other; just that this is an observation I have of our communal behaviors.
As an Internet user who confesses her sins and trials and tribulations quite often, I have to say sometimes I am not happy with this approach. At times it makes me uncomfortable knowing that so many people know some of my deepest and darkest secrets, but then again I feel a certain amount of release from using the Internet in this manner. The burden of carrying your secrets can sometimes feel too heavy to bear, and so relinquishing ourselves of these heavy weights becomes an obvious choice. Confiding your secrets to a friend is one thing, but posting your secrets online for unknown readers everywhere to see is a completely different beast altogether.
I would imagine posting a false identity gets tiresome for some. Years ago someone told me “if you never lie, you will never have to remember anything that you said”. The concept made sense to a ten-year-old me, and since then I simply don’t falsify the truth. Sure I may withhold information, as most of us do, but in going with the truth, however dark and difficult it may be, it is my belief that your soul remains more in tact and your head less confused with the occupation of copious lies.
Us twenty-somethings and early-thirty young adults saw the Internet explode and become what it is today. At it’s inception we were warned by our parents not to reveal our personal information despite the fact that every perv in a chat room would ask the initial A/S/L question and other personal information right off the bat. But back then the Internet was used as a playing ground. Now we use it for professional purposes to advance our careers and gain exposure for the things we want to be exposed.
So where is this all going?
I have some theories, and some concerns about where the Internet will be by the time my children are old enough to engage it freely and without adult supervision. But I won’t bore you with those today except to say this: even when you think you’ve pressed that magical delete button on a tweet you admittedly shouldn’t have posted, know that everything online has a footprint that cannot be erased. Anything that has been published at some point, can and will be traceable if and when someone wants to dig deep enough into your personal life.
This is a word of caution for moving forward.
I have a love/hate relationship with the Internet as I’m sure many people who are active online can relate to and understand. I just hope that in the years to come it doesn’t turn completely into hate as I can see the potential for where this is all going.
Just remember that whether you’re going to be mortified in years to come for supporting Trump or embarrassed by the 1,000 tweets you sent to your favorite celebrity (ahem J. Cole) everything online is traceable. You can press delete, but you can’t erase the potential for your online activities to blow up in your face one day down the line.
I hope that day doesn’t come, but I guess that can explain my approach to go with honesty online instead of falsities. I may reveal too much information at times, but that’s the road I have chosen, and for better or worse, that is the road that I will continue to take.
I’m not going to tell you what I ate for lunch (unless it’s dope as f*ck), but I have, will, an do reveal information that will hopefully make someone else reflect on their lives and the difficult decisions they have had to make, and that, to me, is worth it.