A while ago, two people I had met in real life but mostly follow on the internet broke up. They both started posting a lot of stuff online. The ex-girlfriend, who, to be fair, does have an excellent sense of style, put up pictures of each day’s outfit on her Tumblr, as if to say to her ex, “Look at these fashionable scarves you’re missing out on!” It’s unclear from Facebook what role the scarves played, but the couple did reunite, bought some land upstate and got an adorable dog. Recently, they married. They seem to share a pretty great life from what I can discern from their online presences.
Without getting into too much embarrassing detail, this is not a practice I am above employing or projecting onto failed suitors. Break-ups cause me to put a lot more flattering material of myself online. It’s only when a semi-forgotten friend comments on a post that I had hoped would sway the course of my romantic life that I remember that social media does not consist solely of my crush and me.
These posts don’t disappear after I have moved on. The other day, I came across a blog post I had written about obvious dreams. The star of my obvious dream has been gone for a while now, but reading my old writing felt like looking at a childhood photo of myself, a snapshot of how I wrote.
I realize most everyone in the world does not care about my internet presence. This is just something I’ve been thinking about lately: how we often have specific, fleeting motives for our online creations. For better or worse, these ideas of ourselves become real to the people who see us only online. And with enough time, they become real even to ourselves.