Social media is a game of trimming and maintaining, just as you would a haircut. Not only does it require constant upkeep, but there are also highlights, lowlights, and shameless plugs for those a bit thin on top.
Poor form online will haunt you for all eternity and crop up at random, just like evidence of that time you thought mohawks were cool, or when you decided it didn’t matter that your streaks were asymmetrical, since you saved $50 by using a DIY kit.
Everyone will see it, judge you, and you will be forced to live the rest of your life as an unemployed pariah. Shunned because of terrible grammar, the incorrect use of ‘yolo’, or a potential employer seeing that photo from the party last night.
The way I see it, the Internet is basically one giant caricature. All of your comments are exaggerated, and like that bald patch (that you’re certain isn’t really that big), they are permanent and become your most recognisable feature. Whether it’s a terrible photo tag on Facebook or a drunken tweet professing your undying love for Star Trek, it is almost impossible to regulate everything that becomes branded to your name, and you can only comb-over so much hair before you’re no longer fooling anyone.
The way I see it, the Internet is basically one giant caricature. All of your comments are exaggerated, and like that bald patch (that you’re certain isn’t really that big), they are permanent and become your most recognisable feature.
So, without sounding like a world-class ‘noob’, how big is this ‘internet’ we speak of? It can apparently store every mistake, typo, inadvertently racist comment and awkward nightclub nip slip forever, from the day dot (com). We stew over our tweets – proofreading and debating the use of every Oxford comma before finally deleting, in fear that it may somehow be politically incorrect. This attitude to the Internet only encourages lurking, and like your mum’s lopsided beehive, that’s just sad.
Since we are living vicariously through our social media alter egos (who seem to be incredibly photogenic, witty and possess rad indie photography skills) it is important that we set some boundaries for this public domain. The permanency of our online activity means that ‘This Is Your Life’ could be resurrected, and instead of that lovely embossed red book, a screed of code could be read which is an infinitely more detailed and accurate recollection of our time in the mortal plane. And while it may have been a trend to upload Snapchat promiscuity or post-sex selfies, is this something you want on your permanent rap sheet?
It’s all about how you represent yourself when you know people can see you. Just as the jokes you tell in the office may not be appropriate to tell your grandma, and you don’t go around dropping F-bombs like your life is a Tarantino film, then maybe exercise some restraint when updating your Twitter status.
It’s all about how you represent yourself when you know people can see you.
But this should not deter you from being active online. Just aim for a more rounded experience. No one likes the grammar vigilante, the bandwagon-jumping groupie or the satanic Twitter troll. We have technology at our fingertips, which is more powerful than that which took Armstrong to the moon. Instead of sending endless hate and using social media as a platform for conveying bad vibes and typos, let’s focus more on networking and expanding our knowledge.
So when your ‘1 Girl 1 Cup’ video never quite goes viral, it’s probably best to leave it to the professional internet freak shows and go back to your Twitter argument with @ily1Dbabes89032xx about which band is the biggest British export. Or just create an obscure forum site, for other like-minded bloggers who also can’t believe Leo DiCaprio hasn’t won an Oscar. #notwinning.
I mean sure, sometimes it’s cool to have a fringe comprised of almost all your hair, but “business in the front, party in the back” will remain a timeless ‘do, and a great approach to social media. Like the rattail you’ve sneakily tucked into your shirt to hide from your boss, keep some things sacred, because the Internet fame you’re seeking is transient and (in keeping with the hair metaphor) it will never sit as well as when the hairdresser did it.