In ancient times, on first hearing about the idea of people using computers to make friends online, I remember feeling a glow of pride for us as a species (I really did).
At that time, it felt as though the age of technology could be the end of conversation, communication and togetherness. My pride, was in the notion that we had been able to take something potentially isolating: like having a fold up computer at home and turn it into a tool for community. I remember thinking 'I should have had more faith in us. I should have known we'd use it for good...'
There was a big gap between hearing about this phenomenon and being in a position to join in, for me. And then an equally large gap between being in a position to join in on social media platforms and actually joining. When it came to me personally, I wasn't sure I understood why I should get involved. My biggest fears being judgement and the thought of putting myself out there only to never be able to take it back and hide in anonymity. I still think hard before I post anything and I think that's a good thing, its also very me!
Over time I have learned to keep reminding myself to keep a self-compassionate eye on my dance of engagement with the web. The internet like so many of the external things we encounter, is a mirror. I can discover mermaids are real if I want to, or that vampires live down the road, with videos available to prove it. Whatever I need to be 'true' the internet has got my back. This goes for dodgy and fake 'facts' as well as how I choose to regard and talk to myself.
Before consciously teaching myself how to use social media in a way that would work for me, I would often feel a gloomy hollowness sink into me like dark ink blotting out onto paper, when I put something of myself out in the world, via the internet. I don't think I am alone in having experienced this.
Using the internet to share thoughts, art, ideas and works can trigger so many jangling, discordant and conflicting feelings. The process of sharing can magnify insecurity and become an amplifier for the shadowy and unfiltered ideas my subconscious mind holds up to me about my lack of worthiness to take part in this constantly changing gallery, magazine and market place. When I saw myself experiencing these feelings each time I put something online I decided to step back and think about a fair usage policy for myself...