Even as a media and communication arts student I have always been very reluctant to engage in social media and immerse myself in the digital world. I have gotten away with not having a large online presence for most of my life but this pursuit is becoming increasingly difficult. Up until about two months ago the only platform of social media I could be found on was Instagram – where I have a private account, meaning other users are required to send me a follower request in order to gain access to my images.
I felt comfortable with this level of visibility because I was able to participate in an online community where I controlled what I posted and who was able to see it and I also didn’t have to juggle maintaining other social media accounts – updating statuses, writing bios, or changing my profile photo. However, with the changing landscape of not just sociability but also of my chosen field – journalism – I have been encouraged or arguably forced to put myself on display; gone are the days where articles can stand on their own, they now need accompanying tweets, sharable links and viral content.
I have now had a FaceBook, Tumblr page – two of them actually, one housing my online writing portfolio and the other a production project – and a LinkedIn account for a little over two months. Placing this much access to myself online honestly doesn’t sit well with me, not because I don’t trust the Internet so to say, but rather because I preferred my offline life. I’m sure I’ll get used to friends tagging unflattering photos of me or people messaging me, some of whom I barely know, and knowing when I’ve read it but I can’t help but wish the demand for this visibility both in my personal and professional life wasn’t so high.