I guess, deep down, I do enjoy the labyrinthine-ness of the web. I complain about feeling left behind. About not knowing the best ways to do something. But I’ve never really been someone who expects — or wants — to conquer each minute of the day, to be some kind of marvel of productivity.
Then I opened Instagram, ran a filter over it, and posted it — to send it off into the world to be liked and viewed for its moment of glory, and to shortly after join the stream of other Instagrams disappearing into our Internet wasteland.
I think of the expiration dates we stamp on produce at the supermarket. How when we place items on shelves, we instantly date their freshness. I think about tweets in the same way: once unleashed for all to see, how long can they sit before they’re irrelevant? Before they’re kicked out of the conversation of now?
Read Later. I’m unsure what this means now. It’s become less of an action, and now some kind of blessed, magical place. An ideal state far in the horizon, to where I put stories and ideas and information for me to consume and synthesize to make myself a better, more informed person.
Since the day I got married, I’ve changed my name on various profiles online and begun to sign my new name on documents and checks. As I mentioned in my last post, changing my name is a big step, and because I sit in front of a computer screen for most of the day, with my various profiles staring back at me, I’m constantly reminded of this change.
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.
But I no longer have to rely on looking outward, into a sea of pixels, to sustain this particular relationship in my life. It’s interesting to feel this layer of my Internet now inside my home, absorbing into me, into him, into us. Two planes initially distinct, merging over the course of a year-and-a-half, now intertwining.
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?