In an attempt to blog more this year, I’m going to blog on the last day of every month as well as keep blogging every Tuesday.
I’m a social snail. I’m not the kind of person who can blog every day. Even when I was a girl, I never kept a daily diary. I had many hobbies and could get caught up in one project for weeks. Other times, I could have multiple projects going on at the same time. I was always busy, especially in my head where my imagination ran wild. I did well in the arts and sciences, but not so well socializing with others.
While growing up, I never lived in one place long enough to grow roots and have best friends. My dad was in the military and moved us around a lot. It wasn’t until he was killed in a traffic accident that my mom settled us down in San Diego. Even then, I remained a loner, preferring to read and do things by myself. I practically lived under a rock away from other kids during that time. My mom homeschooled me, so I never experienced the high school hijinks I heard about while at college. In high school, I’m certain I would have been that girl who sat alone in the cafeteria and wrote angsty poetry, befriending all the nerds.
My limited people skills came from interaction with neighbor kids, cousins, and the internet. I joined some WWW social sites and wrote more poetry, but I wasn’t very social at the chatrooms. I’m still not very chatty, but I’ve gotten better at it. 20-some years later, working, raising children, and meeting other parents have a way of making you open up.
My first internet experience of applying social skills was when I belonged to a make-your-own website called Geocities. For several years, I blogged about my dreams and ambitions and wrote angsty poetry before I went off to college and had to apply more social skills. It was a bumpy ride at first, but I discovered Makeoutclub, Friendster and Myspace on the internet and hid behind aliases while I learned to share with others. Probably because it was the norm, I dared to talk dirty online, write erotic poems, and post pics of me in my underwear. I was a horny college kid who learned that every other college kid was horny too.
Myspace became my favorite social site. It was a great place to find underground musicians and Indie artists who wrote and sang the type of poetry I wrote. When I graduated and garnered my first job as a career girl, I did the MS scene for several years until a coworker friend talked me into joining Facebook when it offered public access in 2006.
Before I joined FB, however, I must have belonged to 20 or more social sites on the internet. From Bebo to Xanga, hiding behind aliases was a lot of fun, so if you knew my user names, you could find me socializing at any of those sites. Some of those sites were private, which attracted me most because I could hide behind an alias and talk to strangers about sex and other topics I could never discuss with family or coworkers. Despite all the identity subterfuge going on, I was my most honest about myself when I was anonymous. That way, I never worried about repercussions at work or from my family. And because most of the chat sites back then were text-only and not video, I never ended up as someone’s naked screen capture. I chatted often about masturbation and I masturbated with strangers, so had I been a college student or young single woman during today’s more popular video chatting sites, there’s a good chance my naked chats would be part of someone’s collection of screen captures.
I was never one of those Girls Gone Wild college students, but college was indeed a Coming Out for this otherwise reserved gal. I met some wonderful people on the internet and became close friends with 2 of them—friendships that have lasted beyond college. We Skype at least once a week and have shared hundreds of weddings, births, and kid pics. But our friendship may not have lasted if Facebook and iPhones hadn’t become popular when they did.
I joined FB in 2006 and used it the same way I did my MS account: looking for people who shared my interests, and befriending the Indie bands and artists there, few as they were. I tamed down the dirty talk and showed no one my underwear. Too many relatives were joining FB, so I opened a second account under an alias so I could socialize out of eyesight of family. At first, FB was a great place to IM, share pics and vids, and tease creepy stalker guys who wanted to hook up in real life. But by 2012, it had become a platform for businesses to join and dump their ads on us. It didn’t matter what they were peddling, FB seemed delighted to flash us their ads.
With the popularity of iPhones’ ability to text and send pics and vids, there was no reason for me to stay at FB or any of the other public social sites I belonged to. I left FB during all the controversy of ad spamming there, and I hear FB got it under control by sending users ads of only what they like. And I hear it’s easier now to select who can and cannot see your posts. Still, FB dumps every action going on at your page to your email account, which I filtered daily to my Trash/Deleted folder when I was there.
One of the many other social networks I belonged to during that time was Twitter. Twitter was less popular than Myspace and Facebook, but my few friends and I could share short texts and occasional pics with one another—a “Wham, bam, thank you ma’am” operation. But as I mentioned earlier, iPhones could do the same thing … at a price, of course, but without Twitter’s limitations.
Before I left Twitter in 2012, its popularity boosted due to the influx of celebrities joining. Suddenly, we could friend our favorite celebs, follow and reply to their tweets, and name drop them to all our non-actor/musician/pop-star friends. Doing that felt creepy to me, as though I were stalking them. Some of my friends and relatives thought it was wonderful to follow a VIP’s life, however. I left and had no regrets until I realized that several bloggers I follow are Indie artists and writers and most of them give updates at Twitter more often than they do at their blogs. So I rejoined Twitter this month so I could follow my faves better. This has brought me a free ebook so far and a handful of new artists and authors to follow. Despite the constant hounding from Twitter to follow the celebs, I enjoy logging on and reading about the new things my favorite artists and authors are doing. But despite my intentions not to dwell beneath a rock, I still socialize less at Twitter than many others there.
Returning to Twitter reminded me that I still had an active Pinterest account. Back before I left Facebook, a friend on Pinterest invited me to join that site in 2011. Although Pinterest is less of the standard social site, it’s a nice place to post/pin photos to a small following of family and friends. It even offers secret boards so you can share private pics to those special people in your life. I created 4 boards and posted/pinned a few photos for a couple weeks before I abandoned the site. Now I’m pinning and liking other pins again … and getting out from under my rock. That’s why I linked Pinterest to Twitter on my phone, laptop and notebook so I can share pins to my Twitter followers, few as they are.
Like any social snail, I have a very small following at Twitter and Pinterest. Actually, this is true at my WordPress blog, too. Some bloggers and tweeters (or is it twitters?) have hundreds of followers—even thousands. And a pinner I follow at Pinterest has a million followers. That’s right: ONE MILLION. How in blazes does someone get that many followers? And why would anyone want that many?
But I don’t envy the popular internet socialites. I rarely have more than an hour each day to be online. Working, shopping, and tending after 2 children, a husband, and 3 dogs leave little time for internet activities. I’m even lucky that I’ve been able to keep blogging every week. And that girl with the multiple projects going on is still active, though a little older and wiser. We have our weekly planners readily available to help us make sure things get done on time.
Socializing comes in many forms, all of which tire me. Unfinished poems nag at me when I have time alone with my thoughts. They even nag when I try to catch up on my reading. I revert to that nonsocial person when I’m alone, shooing hubby, the kids, and our dogs out of the house so I can be with my thoughts and finish whatever I’m writing at the time. Unfortunately, my body automatically curls into a sleeping ball when I’m alone. I’ve done this at work a few times too while reading financial reports in my office. Luckily, the old brass Georgian shaped handle squeaks when anyone opens my door.
So, while hubby and the kids are bonding, I’m writing to strangers and hoping I haven’t divulged in TMI that a court of law could use against me.
Thank you for reading. If you’re a follower, thank you for that. And if you’re any of the 5 people in this big world who know my deepest secrets and ring me in the early hours to share your deepest secrets with me, thank you for being a friend. For this 34-year-old social snail, that’s a huge achievement.