Do you ever think about what’s going to happen to all of that content you cram into your social media accounts on a daily basis? Ten+ years from now, will you be able to go back through your Twitter history, tweet by tweet? Even if you could, that sounds like an arduous, ridiculous way to spend your time.
When I think about it, I get the sense that Facebook’s developers have actually put some effort into this quandary. The timeline feature now allows us to jump back in time to stalk our past selves. Since I don’t print a lot of any pictures on film anymore, there’s very little physical record of these “memories” that I spend my time making. It seems counter-intuitive that we spend so much time chronicling our activities for our friends/families to see on social media, but when it comes down to remembering for ourselves (or for potential offspring) we’re acting fairly neglectful. If I ever have grandkids, do you think it will be possible for them to go onto Facebook and check out my status updates from 60 years earlier? UM, DOUBT IT. I have this sneaking feeling that Facebook will be a shriveled up relic of early social media at that point. But then on the other hand, maybe once everyone has laser contact lenses to compute their daily tasks and robot servants to feed/clean for them, maybe said grandchildren will be bored enough to go through the arduous, ridiculous process of looking up grandma Willa’s tweets.
I’m going to stop myself here, because this could easily turn into one of those “who knows what the future of technology will look like” rants. That’s not my intention at all. Rather, I’m preparing to go on an even better type of rant! Let’s begin…
It all boils down to something that happened a couple of nights ago, when it dawned on me that yes, I used to have a Myspace and a Livejournal account, and– you guessed it– I was pretty damn active on those early social media sites. In fact, I was even into those weird LJ communities where you vote people in or deny them based on how many cool Cake song lyrics they have in their profile. Just like now, the Internet and its various communities played a big role in my life. So, naturally, I wanted to try to log back in to those old deserted accounts, but I couldn’t even remember what email I would have used, or even what my username was. It got me to wondering whether or not this same scenario could play out 10-20 years down the line. Will I ever forget my @willak Twitter account info? Could I really change that much, that quickly?
Luckily, I’m no novice when it comes to the Internet. It took some detective work, but eventually I hacked my way into those past-life (not to be confused with Second Life) accounts, and had some fun an interesting time reading my prickly, embarrassing-to-remember (even to myself), melodramatic posts about homework, loneliness, and other typical young art nerd topics. It was pretty awesome, though, to see myself having some interesting thoughts. Why is LiveJournal addictive? Why do I feel like sharing my personal life with strangers? Why do I care to read about the lives of others, when I don’t truly care about who they are? All these questions are still relevant to social media. How much time do I still waste following the lives of others? Is it purposeless? What’s it all for?
Reading through the posts which now seem to represent my juvenile experiments with social media gave me a lot to be thankful for. For one thing, not being a teenager rules. I’m also happy that social media has begun to move away from personally spamming others towards a purer goal of sharing information + broadening the scope and impact of good content (I can now say with 100% certainty that LiveJournal was an inadequate tool for acting like a grown-up).
If all of my tweets/social media updates from the past few years and the next few years end up in 100101110101 purgatory, I suppose I’ll live. I’m not an obsessive archiver of anything– in with the old, out with the new has always seemed like a pretty reasonable motto to me. However, now that I’ve gone through all the trouble of hacking into my old accounts/writing this post, I do feel the need to preserve a few of the LJ highlights that I dug up. There’s just something a little special about high school memories, ya know? Please don’t keep reading if you will no longer take me seriously after reading a lot of nutty, weird writing– know that I was a lonely, gangly teenager living in an isolated town in Vermont, and the Internet was that one place I could go when everywhere else was cold and snowy and, you know, awkward.
With that in mind, read on at your own risk!
LIVE JOURNAL EXCERPTS:
This excerpt is (I think) from my sophomore year of college. I rode the train between Poughkeepsie and Brooklyn a lot, and had a sweet eyebrow piercing. Also, I was a studio art major working for writer David Means as a research assistant on a project about hobo vernacular. I think it rubbed off on me:
dreamed i was a sketched out painter, walking around in square circles like blocks of brick and vinyl siding, trees like telephone wires and communicated death wishes in cars, bumping beats like 40s in a bag, clinking into the sound of underwater forests, black and brown and dark green silt sway down into toilet pits beneath, like out of nowhere into the drop-off. a giant portrait of a rampid philosophizer, nobody will get it, but isn’t that the point?
Aaaand this excerpt from Freshman year in college is fun (and deep). I wonder if it ever occured to me that dreams do the same thing… would be interesting to compare cognitive effects of reading fiction to dreaming (but not here folks, this post is completely devoted to the thoughts thought by Willa of many years ago)
So today in English class my English teacher said something SO profound. Something along the lines of… why do we read fiction, watch movies? We do it because we’re all transfixed with emotion, especially the ones we hope to avoid. Feeling sad is exciting, sometimes. Being greusomely murdered would be horrifying, but I bet you’d feel so damn alive while it was happening. Fiction bridges the gap between the intense emotion we crave and the safety we need to keep us alive. Apparently, when you read about “falling off a cliff”, some of the same neurons are firing as would be if you wereactually falling off of a cliff. So like… fiction teaches us how to feel, think, act in certain situations… situations that nobody could ever experience on a daily basis. So it’s like… exercising the part of your mind that rarely gets a chance to function. But, when it does, you know how to feel, because you’ve already been trained by fiction. ISN’T THAT CRAZY???
Two poems I claim to have written during a class:
Apocalypse, 2nd Coming—
“… draped over existence, my sunken banana peel goes back into obscurity, its distant aunts and uncles, lost to a dirty street in Chicago, resting beneath blinking lights, it comes down in embodied yellow shafts, foreshadowing the inevitable – the family is broken…”
Impressive Locomotion is Possible!—
“..>Companies in the field of robotics, enormous practicality clumping together (burning-linking-moving-grinding), AI in the living room, on the battlefield! Let’s spend time together, years together– we’ll build a new team and traverse the terrain, we’ll vacuum the carpet, together, forever, and then we’ll sit back, relax, and wonder… why did we ever bother?…”
Okay, stick with me… here comes the finale of excerpts from my college LJ-writing:
I like the way the trees look right now, in that they haven’t really given up on photosynthesis yet, but you can tell they’re almost at the point of no return. Simple bare patches and big blotches of orange &yellow, against the sky… it looks damn fine. And the wind always seems to be swirly at this time of year, as if it wanted to make everything feel about 10x more dramatic and momentous than it needed to be. I mean… just the way this time of year makes everyone look like a movie star; even the awkward looking kids have their moments when the sun is about 2/3rds down and everything is glinty and sort of semi-real looking. Like we have this kid on campus who we call “the rotting corpse” because he looks like he’s… (you guessed it) rotting away… but then last night I was sitting under a tree and a few leaves fell around his rotten-corpse face, and the shadows under his dripping and mutinous flesh looked gorgeous and deep, and I kind of just wanted to reach out and grab some of his face and put it in my pocket to carry around with me for a while. And then, this thought wasn’t even morbid. It was just sort of like the idea of having something strange and real and incomprehensible to look at, whenever you’re bored, so that this sense of boredness isn’t even able to come around any more. So I wouldn’t even end up looking at the fleshy shit, but I also wouldn’t be bored, ’cause I knew if I was bored, then I’d have to go through all the trouble of hiding the big wad of bluddy pulpy flesh in my pocket when I took it out to look at it.
Okay, high school time! Reading this post kinda freaked me out… it’s like I was an omniscient 16 year old and saw my future self writing this post:
It’s funny how people make fun of other people who have livejournals. Even I make fun of it. I mean c’mon, it’s a funny thing. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother writing in it… why should I write anything for other people, mostly people who I don’t even know on a personal level, especially when I don’t even care enough to write something interesting. But the fact is, I enjoy reading everyone else’s journals, I like hearing about your lives, even though I don’t think I really care what happens to you. I guess that makes me sick. Haha, livejournal turns our lives into entertainment for other people. Why do we crave to hear about each other’s lives? Why do we, as humans, want other people to know about who we talked to in school, what teacher was an ass, whose best-friend is actually a bastard coke-addict, what movies are good… what worthless little minute detail of nothingness is so drastically important and life-altering and worthy of boldness and
and CAPSLOCK and… I don’t even know. I guess what I’m trying to say is… I’m addicted to livejournal, I read people’s posts like a fucking slave, and yet deep down inside, I don’t really even care about what you guys say, let alone what I say in my own LJ. Wow, that’s sad. Very sad indeed.
Other things also never change:
Yesterday I got run over by a rack of band chairs, this morning my cat clawed my neck and made me bleed, after school I lost my car keys (and they’re still lost, I might add…), and now I have a piece of glass stuck in my finger.
This poem is fun:
Blunt edged and fierce,
My feline-orange desk is a pain in my side
but also quite non-literally,
seeing as it holds the leafy white pages
of angry feathery blacknesses,
made miserable only by my mind’s learnedness.
My green tylenol-shaped CD player hums along
but the melodramatic chords are truly what they are,
hanging in mini garden grooved out pastures
among dust laden molecules
and thrifty bubbles,
long since popped and homogenized into a mist of sandy emptiness.
I wonder why the pens are so varying,
the dead pink one, good ol’ blacky, mint green, and some pencils
lined up like morning doves on the telephone wire in the sun,
basking in the light of an obnoxiously flickering lamp
whose electricity source is all dried up.
Impending dawn mocks me,
slowly crawling over China, giggling
bubbling little gooey pinknesses
Sweet and cunning,
pulling a string that is attached to my good grammar
so my paper is left dumb and disillusioned,
staring blankly in anticipation of another foul keystroke.
This poem is cooler:
The decomposition of self-centered shadows.
The sun is dead.
It sunk with the absurdity
of a shovel without dirt.
Disobediance was born
and the light was a poetic burlesque
in the conflicted night.
The moon liberated a pious grave
while a philosopher ate
his metallic spoon.
There was a house fly
in his black eye
waving with a fatal disposition.
I saved time when
I canceled my life preserver.
But, like the sun is leathery,
I am dead.
And I don’t see the flash when
the undertaker takes my picture.
. . . w h e r e i s t h e r y t h m ?
Did this really happen? Probably.
Funny thing that happened today:
driving in the parking garage in my car, and since its in the parking garage, its really obvious that my car is making ugly noises… so anyway, im driving really slowly so that no huge pieces of my car break off and fly into a fiery abyss, and then this guy, as I’m driving past, sticks his hand into my window and tries to give me a french fry. It was pretty much the most random thing ever… but I took it, and I was going to eat it but then that voice in the back of my head was like “don’t take candy from strangers”… and yes, I know that french fries are NOT candy, but still, same idea, so I didn’t eat it, I threw it out the window. THEN, as I’m throwing it out the window, this OTHER guy pops out of nowhere, grabs the french fry and starts ranting about how I shouldnt throw my trash out into the road… so yeah, long story short (or still long, pretty much…), it was funny because this random french fry had a big adventure.
This one was going somewhere at some point, but then it just… didn’t go anywhere:
Today somebody said they didn’t understand why something I made existed, saying it was possibly beyond their level of comprehension. That’s rediculous. The only reason anything exists is because it was made. Whether or not this existence is justifiable is beyond the point… there is nothing to explain except origin, which once again is inherently obvious. Life is just life, and then you die, and what happens in the middle is everything and nothing and void of meaning, unless it means something to you personally. So basically, all this jibber-jabber is saying to you, to me, to the empty cyber-space digits it will take up, is that I am alive, and therefore I am me, and that is justified, and therefore everyone else is wrong to think of me as something I am not. However, none of that matters, because I will never have to hear about it, and therefore to me it does not exist.
I still feel like this a lot of the time:
just realized something: I’m QUITE pissed about living in the 21st century. This era is all wrong for me… I should have been born in the 60s, partied in the 70s, and become sophisticated in the 80s. I want sequin pants and disco clubs. I want flashdance to be my every friday night. I want an afro. I want to see Parliament, in concert, with the gargantuan flashlight.
I’m pretty sure my last hope is Canada… and quite frankly I never thought I’d be saying that in all seriousness, as I am now.
As for my Myspace account, it turns out that they totally re-did their whole site making it pretty much impossible to go back in time and see what weird customization stuff I did to make mine “stand out” from the “crowd.” I have this funny feeling that I managed to frighten/bore most readers of my blog away at this point, so I’m going to cut this short. Or maybe I should use the privacy I’ve gained by alienating my readers to divulge some secrets…?
Nah, I’ll save that for my live journal 🙂