Shared Out

I joined Twitter on July 17, 2006. I’m user #1888. I took a photo of Kevin and Mike as they were trying to keep their servers up on the first day of Instagram’s public launch (note: both have upgraded their wardrobes since). I used it when it was called Burbn. I didn’t go to an Ivy League school so I couldn’t be on the cusp of Facebook’s launch, but I knew about it at the time. I was there.

There was a moment (ok, fine, lots of moments, and occasionally it still happens) where I thought my tweets were clever. There was a moment where I thought I was a good Instagrammer. There was a moment where I thought that any terrible photo could get a certain number of likes just by applying the right filter.

It’s harder and harder to feel like whatever content I’m making is meaningful. Even this blog post is plagued by question as to whether it’s different than anybody else’s, and whether it really needs to be said again. Also: I have 20+ screenshots of women on Bumble with photos from Machu Picchu. I am the victim, but I’m also the plague. Maybe all of this technology, when it comes down to it, has removed any reasonable belief that we’re unique.

I find myself gravitating to Instagram stories — they’re ephemeral, and my life is pretty routinized, but even if I post similar photos of my exercise routine a couple times a week there’s little evidence to say I did.

I’m a harsh critic of my own tweets at this point. They seem to carry such weight. Who’s going to read them? Is this on brand? Will this alienate some group that I care about? Have I already posted this photo? Do I only take photos of my running route? Am I just a political ideologue on Facebook? Is there more to my digital life than this?

Ten years ago I never cared about this. I did hate your Uggs though. I miss the innocence.

Published 25 Jun 2017