It's that all important and awkward question, that at some point, you know you'll get asked. What's my number? 10. Instagram followers that is.
"To be honest, I'm pretty rubbish at keeping up with my real-world friends, let alone managing an online network of friends who barely care whether I am alive or dead."
Are X-enial's a thing now?
I've spent a lifetime avoiding social media. My generation were recently awarded a new name - the rather catchy 'X-enial's'. Neither the generation X that came before us, or the Millenials that came after, X-enial's were until recently a largely forgotten about group (minus catchy title), whose year of birth meant they occupied a strange no-mans land between two generational divides; quite literally a gap between proceedings. We are the generation that experienced a childhood of IBM and Tamagotchi, and an adulthood of iPhones and Instagram. Most of my friends have managed this awkward timing of birth brilliantly, thoroughly embracing all that modern technology can bring; including the ubiquitous networking that seems to go on in the dark ethers of cyberspace, with people you barely know, and barely care about. To be honest, I'm pretty rubbish at keeping up with my real-world friends, let alone managing an online network of friends who barely care whether I am alive or dead. But recently, I've been forced to accept that social media isn't going away, and whilst I still hate the idea that we need to memorex (a brownie point to anyone who can remember memorex) every moment of our lives as oppose to just living it, I have to concede that this social networking thing has become more than just the norm, but a necessity, and something I too need to embrace.
"My networking ineptness means I have no net to work; and weirdly while this is the point I would usually give up, I'm enjoying the #instaworld more than I ever thought possible. Curated mood boards? Whats not to love."
Visiting friends in New York about 12 years ago, they had joined the Facebook revolution and were extolling its virtues to me over dinner on the floor in their apartment. If this all sounds very 'Friends', then trust me, it was. After several attempts to persuade me to join up they decided to take matters into their own hands, and before I knew it, I was 'on' Facebook; password - love stinks. For the first few days it was exciting to see a variety of school friends and foes crawling out of the woodwork, there was an undeniably pleasurable voyeurism in seeing where life had taken them. But it suddenly occurred to me, in judging them - they would also be judging me. Did I really want to put myself and my life choices out there for the world to see? I persevered for a short while, but after a rather odd man I met through work started turning up at the events I posted from and I was advised by the police not to share my location or talk about myself on social media - it seemed like a sign. This was not the life for me.
"So much has changed in the last 12 years, not least the addition of a husband and 2 small children"
Not so instafriends
So much has changed in the last 12 years, not least the addition of a husband and 2 small children. What hasn't changed is how utterly exposed I feel on social media, but it has been something I have hidden from and feared for far too long. Taking baby steps into my new life I've decided to start an Instagram account to help support this blog. The problem being that after years of avoiding anyone and everyone I knew online, I am suddenly a billy no-mates. My networking ineptness means I have no net to work; and weirdly while this is the point I would usually give up, I'm enjoying the #instaworld more than I ever thought possible. Curated mood boards? Whats not to love. So, maybe no one cares what I have to say, and I don't have any online friends to like the picture of my lunch - but I'm putting myself out there. And that, is not a baby step at all.