A really, really wise lady once told me that, “The internet is a place that will swallow you whole if you let it. So don’t.” It is easier said than done some days. Some days another writer publishes a piece that you just kick yourself for not thinking of penning first. Some days you wake up with angry, hormonal acne and catch a glimpse of a beautiful, flawless #wokeuplikethis selfie on Instagram that just makes you want to hide until the breakout subsides. Some days you take the comments too seriously and you just feel like shit.
I’ve had a presence, even if it’s a small one, on the internet a relatively short amount of time compared to other people. And in that small amount of time I’ve still had to take days where I unplug because the internet is just a little too much. I was chatting with the very, very wise lady about this and it got me to thinking about ways to keep your online life positive. I’m working on keeping my life light, happy, and drama free, both IRL and plugged in so these are some of the things I’m employing to help make my dot com just that.
1. Don’t use social media as a negativity outlet.
There is a difference between going onto Twitter and making fun of yourself for burning the roof of your mouth your pizza bites (been there) and constantly using it as a way to poke at things you just don’t happen to be into. It’s uncomfortable, and frankly just sad. You don’t like that people are posting pictures of themselves reading with their boyfriends because you prefer to binge watch Mad Men with yours? Cool. No need to put that disdain online in 140 characters or less.
2. Remember that comment sections cannot hurt you.
Words are brutal, and yes, words can hurt. Sometimes they just sting because they remind you you’re single and you’ve been feeling a little lonely lately, and sometimes they can be downright scary. But at the end of the day (90% of the time) they are just empty words from angry people. And they don’t matter. Go outside and smile at strangers and say thank you to someone who holds the door for you. Remember that people don’t always suck, and they never behave the way trolls in comment sections do.
3. Don’t start fights just because you can.
Wanna be a troll? That’s a great way to do it. You read an article about minimalism and it bothers you because you can never seem to keep your apartment immaculate and you’re always too tempted by vintage ring holders in antique stores? The author prooooobably isn’t going to come banging at your door trying to take those knick knacks. You don’t need to freak out about it; it’s pointless.
4. Tread carefully with being political or topical.
It is GREAT to be passionate about things and even better to keep yourself informed with what is happening in the world. But unless you’re prepared to make it what you’re known for just leave it alone. Facebook isn’t for yelling about your beliefs; it’s for keeping in touch with people and stalking their old photo albums from back when that was still a thing. Check yourself before you hit post.
5. Know that nobody really #wokeuplikethis.
Everyone’s life looks better against a white wall with a VSCO filter slapped over the top of it. Even the barest of the bare selfies are still masterfully angled and taken in great lighting after that someone splashed water on their face and changed their shirt. No one instagrams the messy closet they’ve been ignoring or the stale pretzels they’ve been snacking on for two months. Absolutely no one is put together and as cool as they look in Valencia. No one.
6. Keep in mind that some people buy their followers.
It’s sad, but people totally do it. So that “model” who barely has a Flickr and still insists that that platform is still relevant? She most likely paid for her 14k followers or they are all spambots that will eventually go away. And it’s really silly to be jealous about something like that. Really silly.
7. Stay true to yourself.
There’s nothing that’s sadder or more disheartening when you can totally see that someone is fabricating who they are because they think it will make them popular on the internet. It’s almost like Catfishing someone. (And don’t catfish, that’s just fucking weird.) Just be who you are and don’t apologize for it. I have far more respect for someone who is genuine and honest then someone who is trying too hard to be angry, or loud, or funny and it’s just coming across as forced.
And when all else fails…
8. Google puppies.
Because a pug in a bicycle basket wearing goggles can make even the worst internet day a little better.