It’s been on my mind for a while. I’ve written, ranted and poured myself shamelessly over social media for as long as I can remember. I remember when it all started – fifth form, my friend Eliza had a special routine: she’d get a Coke from our tuck shop and tune into this thing called ‘Facebook’. I thought it was pretty weird but, like most things, Eliza was pretty ahead of the times.
And now, here we are, a handful of years on, and what have we got to show for it. Are we happier for it? Stats would say irrefutably no – social media has proven to increase our chances of turning wholly narcissistic, becoming clinically depressed and causing longterm mental damage. But then again – it widens us to the world. It allows us to reconnect with people, to travel faraway and stay in touch, to share intimate moments of our existence (births, deaths, successes) with a wide net. But it doesn’t make you happy. I’ll say that again – it simply does not make you happy.
Because I can see that from the other side, as someone who puts social media in that box labelled ‘things I have to do’ and something, ultimately, that is probably at the detriment of my own mental wellbeing. Because every time I post a picture, write a status, share a link, I, we, are trying to say something about ourselves to the world. Whether we know it or not, we’re trying to give the edit of our own existence. It’s the fashion edit – the glitzy bits, the glamour – it’s never the weekends spent on the sofa or the empty teacups by your bed, it’s the cocktails and the parties, the photos where we think we look sexy and the links to websites that make us look, ahem, jokes.
And this whole glitzy existence has very much got in the way of who I want to be as a writer, as a blogger. I went through the whole blog redesign thing and I just couldn’t find myself – did I want some pretty, all-white style blog that made it look like I was a food blogger with an AGA, an vintage-inspired kitchen and Cath Kidson mugs, or a trendy faaaashion blog that made it look like I knew an Olympia Le Tan from a Sophia Webster clutch bag. Well, I wanted a bit of both. Which is why I couldn’t change. Because as much as my whole existence is about narration – where I’m eating, where I’m staying, where I’m travelling to – there is, I like to think, something at the heart of it all: an essential love of words. It’s not really about the things themselves, it’s about being able to translate experiences into words, which interests me.
So I can swallow the fact that people must think I’m a total knob on social media, that my Facebook page is a riot of edited, glamourized, filtered photos of hotel beds and skinny lattes, because I can swaddle myself in the fact that my good friends and my family know me, know that there’s always something behind the photos. So that’s the only real comfort I can take away from it all – that behind the Facebook page, behind the tweets, Eliza had it right the first time – there’s simply nothing wrong that a cold Coke and reading your news feed, because we’re all in the same game.
Now here’s some photos of Cape Town, the fashion edit, which will materialize in words in Suitcase Magazine‘s December 2013 Issue… x