If you know me, you will know that my core list of things I like rarely changes. In fact I think every online bio for the last three years has been a re-wording of my age, my love for winter, all types of coffee and apple devices. Also on that list is acoustic versions of songs and my like-love-hate-love for all things design related (if we were facebook official our relationship status would probably read something like “Samantha and Graphic Design are in an open and complicated relationship”, but that’s a whole other story).
Another thing I really really like-love is social networking. Facebook, twitter, tumblr, instagram, wordpress, vsco grid, the loop, linked in–you name it, you can probably find me on it. You only have to look at my list of social networks to know that I am a member of Generation Y, a generation who grew up both in real life and online. We share everything with the world wide web and sometimes spend time more time on our online presence than our in real life ones. The reason? Our online profiles have become an extension of ourselves. We express ourselves within the pages of a blog, we project our thoughts and feelings out into the vast online community in 140 characters or less and we share and create content with people from all around the world.
People sometimes assume that because so much of our life is lived online that we aren’t living at all, and while I do see where they are coming from (and I completely agree that some moments deserved to simply be experienced and not blogged, tweeted and instagrammed about) at the end of the day, my life is so much broader because of social networking. Would my life still be awesome with it? Of course it would be, but my online profiles have taught me so much more than how to take the perfect display picture and when is the best time for an ironic hashtag1. There is something about being able to express yourself on the biggest empty canvas you have ever seen (seriously the world wide web is humungous) and have people potentially respond from every corner of the globe. It’s inspiring and humbling and sometimes scary to know how far you yourself can travel without ever leaving your apartment. You share your heart and it can go all over the world–from Australia to America, to London, to Tokyo and everywhere in between. If we are what we think, and our thoughts can travel the world, then there is no limit to where we can go. And it is that sharing of experiences with people we know, and the community of those we are yet to meet, that makes our online profiles so much more than a page on a website. They are an extension of us, holding the adventures of a lifetime. They are photo albums, scrap books, ‘electronic substitutes for ink-soaked journals’2.
Expressing ourselves isn’t a new concept. We have long been sharing parts of ourselves with people but now the platform has changed and the audience has widened. While there is a balance to be achieved between online and face to face interaction, there is nothing wrong with blogging/tweeting/instagramming about those things that make our life ours, even if people don’t always understand why we do it. Life is meant to be lived in the now but life is also meant to be shared with those we love and just shared in general. And hey, there’s a button for that on the internet and everything.
1 the answer is probably always. or not.