I have a confession: I miss writing on the internet. But also, I don’t.
What I miss is writing for the internet but having absolutely no one, or practically no one, read my work.
That sounds like a counterintuitive desire when so many people I know are growing their careers and writing for larger platforms and massive audiences, selling their work for actual money. But I really want to get back to my roots, which was just frantically sending my words into the world without a thought of the audience at all — because there wasn’t one.
So here I am. Ready and excited to write.
Throwing words out into the world and hoping this will finally re-ignite my love of writing.
Not worrying about who is going to read this.
I think the reason I’m excited to write for a nonexistent audience is that so much of the media landscape and social media and everything like that has been weighing on me a lot in terms of expectations and demands from users by followers.
Specifically, I’ve been thinking a lot about authenticity lately and trying to figure out where the line is between what is acceptable to post and what isn’t, and what is authentic and what is not, versus what is ~perceived~ as authentic and what is not. There are so many different subcategories and intricacies to analyze and while it is particularly freeing in a way that I’m realizing a lot more about the social media landscape we all exist and operate in, it is also making me hyper-aware of what others expect of my posts, while also making me want to subvert those expectations. Basically, I’m stuck in stressed-out posting limbo. Am I posting like a typical college kid? Am I posting as a writer? An entrepreneur? A future successful person? An internship candidate? Someone who is networking? Someone who likes pretending to be an influencer? Someone who sort of wants to be an influencer?
There are just too many potential roles to fill and everyone’s social feed fits within a brand or identity they’re willing to use to represent themselves. The issue comes in for me then when I simply don’t want to choose one of those roles, but while they sometimes overlap and intersect, sometimes they’re also opposite or mutually exclusive. So I do need to pick.
It also doesn’t help that a lot of the things I love posting — like books or art or architecture — get basically zero likes with my followers, a group of mostly 18 to 25-year-old college kids who just want to see pictures of their friends and solid memes. And I’m not about to lie, as much as I try, the likes and follower counts do still matter to me as they’re coming in.
As I zone in on my newest social media brand and #aesthetic for what seems like the thousandth time, I know I need to keep in mind what I want to do for myself, and what I want to project to others. It’s a strange balancing act, but I’m figuring it out slowly. Right here, for an audience of 0.