So I’ve thought about what digital spaces I’ll update with this name change, and which ones I may leave alone, and why I choose to make this distinction. I updated my name on Facebook—minus the reaction I had after updating my Twitter account—which makes me wonder about the identities maintained on each of these networks, the distinct spheres of my Internet, and the different levels of public.
I show a similar disinterest in my photography. Process and context are increasingly less significant. I’m preoccupied instead with creating the perfect shot for any given moment—worthy of an avatar, of a Facebook cover photo—and discarding the rest. A single unit is easier and faster to create—and consume.
Sometimes I envision my Twitter feed as rushing water: my presence is a dam, and each tweet is debris making its way downstream. It’s now a challenge to let information simply flow—to let tweets swim by without me seeing or interacting with them.
Sure, I was collecting things in an online space. But it still felt like clutter, fit for shoe boxes under my bed. And with Pinterest, my aspirations no longer floated in my head. They were right there: discoverable, pinnable, and recyclable by others. Aren’t my dreams supposed to be elusive? Unable to be bookmarked?
But on Twitter, it’s different: favoriting is less about someone else and more about me. The process is about plucking the juicy bits from others’ minds and imaginations and tossing them into a cauldron—a volatile place that mirrors my headspace at any given moment.
And then I think about the public profiles that I have no qualms about leaving behind, and the aspects of my digital persona that would never change—the bits of data on my various profiles that my spirit would approve, long after I am gone.
A boundaryless world where I participated and created, lost in moments mostly undocumented.
But I’m not interested here in distinguishing what was what in my own timeline. Instead, I’m fascinated by how Facebook Timeline encourages us to map it out for all to see: A visualization of the haphazardness of the cosmos. A digital record of life choices we’ve made.
How would my Facebook updates read if I licked off the sugar coating?
For those of us who mingle virtually with avatars in the same room, and who embrace Twitter as meaningful and three-dimensional, I wonder: If one is not interested in Libya, or Wisconsin, or the Superbowl, or Egypt, or Planned Parenthood, or the Grammys, how do we whisper about something else? How do we tweet politely about our day when others are distraught, angry, or in need?