The Internet is a scary place.
My Internet “personality” is the culmination of experiences I’ve had on the World Wide Web. I would describe myself as reserved, neutral, and brief. Rarely do I share my opinions surrounding issues of gender, race, or politics on social media, even if these issues are related to climbing. I don’t share in depth detail of my personal life, whether good or bad, on Facebook, Instagram, or even here on my blog anymore. Topics that I openly discuss in the “real world” I tend to stray away from on the Internet.
I’ve been at an impasse with social media. I feel confused by the purpose I want it to have for me personally. I know we use social media to share experiences, inspire and be inspired, create discussion… All of which are positive things. So why the avoidance?
When I was in high school, I made a YouTube video (that no longer exists) confidently complaining about a party and stating incorrect “facts” all over the place. Someone took the liberty to try and put me in my place by anonymously messaging me on Formspring something along the lines of, “I hope someone curb stomps you until your brains are splattered all over the sidewalk.” Of course, my 16-year-old self immediately burst into tears, even though anonymous loser words aren’t “supposed” to hurt.
Since then, I acknowledge that anything I post on the Internet could result in an “I hope you get curb stomped” response. Of course it’s not in any way acceptable, and it may not be in those exact words, but it is a possibility. A possibility I haven’t wanted to deal with. Like I said, I’m completely comfortable and enthusiastic to discuss “controversial” topics in person. But the Internet environment allows people to hide behind their computers and say things that would never be acceptable in public. The more reserved, neutral, and brief I am on the Internet, the less likely a curb stomp comment is. Does this make me a coward? Does it make me human? What is the purpose of my social media if I don’t share these personal details or opinions?
I’ve decided these are things I would like to hash out while I am on my trip with loads of time to think. Even a longer post like this is more personal than what I’ve shared in the last two years. I want to grow and find a balanced Internet “personality” where I share more and am not so frightened by the big, bad Internet, but still have moments to myself. I suppose this blog will be that journey.