I feel unclean.
I am a member of Facebook, at last.
I haven’t had a Facebook account since eight grade, when I deleted it after less than a year because I was angry with the Internet and its addictive and unreliable qualities. And I’ve successfully avoided it until now.
Computers are a problem for me, though. Honestly, every time I think of computers, all I can see is the owner of a broken computer hurling its remains into a landfill and them lying there forever. It’s a disgusting thought because it’s supposed to be dead and buried and forgotten, but it just remains and won’t go away. It’s worse than a ghost because at that point it’s not scary or meaningful; it’s just annoying. “Yes computer, we grieved for you. But we bought a new one and it’s better, just go away.” Gross.
Being on the computer and the Internet for just an hour – maybe even less – makes me antsy; I could be doing something else. I start to shield my eyes from the screen’s glaring glow, I feel my back becoming hunched and my future dimming. And as if someone just lit a firework under my ass, I shut my computer down completely, shove it in my desk and run out of the room. I daresay, I will not become a hermit! I will have a life!
The other week, I took a friend’s advice and starting putting my laptop to “sleep” to conserve its charge instead of having to shut it down and reboot it all the time. In the fashion described above, I would book it away from my desk a couple times a day – that’s a lot of wasted energy and time. I felt so rebellious. I actually worried that my computer would do something rash while asleep, like overheat and light my room on fire, or allow someone to hack into my computer through the Internet window I had left open – is that even possible?
There was an element of fear surrounding computers, the Internet and its wily ways for me, to say the least. Mostly because they make me feel less human, unnatural and – surprisingly – guilty. I try to avoid them and keep my innocence.
But I closed my eyes and dipped my toes in the water with WordPress. Then I scooched in further when I realized the Internet is magic for musicians and music. Soon, observing some of my tech-saavy friends, I noticed that computers are not just lazy-machines: they are tools and not just “guilty-pleasures,” and am now wading around the shallow end with my fists balled up in the air and trying not to get my hair wet.
Every time I admit to myself that I rely on a computer or the Internet for something, I cringe and imagine my humanity chipping away. But it’s exhausting being hypocritical all the time: I use computers and enjoy using them. There. I said it. The Internet is useful to me, and as an adventurer on the quest for knowledge, the Internet makes some of that easier.
In my own defense, though, sometimes I don’t like knowledge easily. I don’t get the same sort of satisfaction from Googling something than from asking someone or going to the library. Sure, in these times that is extra work that can be avoided with the Internet, but I do things the hard way sometimes. It’s just a fact I accept. I make things more difficult because, well, I do. [I think that is a symptom of perfectionism. Shoot.]
So I’m letting down my guard a little bit. I could avoid Facebook no longer because of many reasons, including that a lot of activities I’m involved in communicate that way; some of my friends are going away to college this year and I won’t see them otherwise; and people just don’t email or call anymore. It was between being in the dark or being blindingly connected to everyone, and whereas I used to choose darkness, I’m finally squinting into the light. I can wear shades, though; I trust myself not to get sucked in, or care too much, or post revealing pictures, or start arguments I wished I hadn’t. In short, my innocence will not be scathed by admitting to myself that I could possibly, in a certain dimension, with a different personality, like the Internet, in some way.
And, to exploit the opportunity and to just to get it off my chest, here is my review of some popular websites:
I went on Reddit the first time a few weeks ago and I didn’t get it. I refused tumblr for the longest time because I preferred WordPress as a blogging platform and thought it was pointless to just shuffle a bunch of pictures and shit around that aren’t even yours – isn’t that what Google Images and Facebook are for? Twitter should go away. It’s like mass-texting the world, but then everyone branches off into their own conversations amongst themselves and when you leave the page you feel less intelligent than before. Then there’s Pinterest, which I added an extra syllable to until I sounded it out aloud some time ago – not that you need to speak aloud or with correct language on the Internet anyway. Gosh, I’m exhausted.