Dear Emily: Your Hotmail Account Name Is Not As Cool As You Think It Is
Hey. Just a few quick things for you, back in 2002. Welcome to MSN, the first exposure you will have to the bizarre and mysterious world of social media (your mom doesn’t let you have MySpace because she thinks it’s unsafe). Your email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and уσυя мѕη ѕ¢яєєη ηαмє ιS ωяιттєη ℓιкє тнιѕ. You’re hot stuff, you.
This online world will be the first environment where your self-esteem will be aggressively controlled by others, as well as yourself. You’ve never kissed a boy, never even held hands with one (you will later realize how much of a lesbian you are and how little you actually care about boys, but in that moment they mattered very much to you). You change your display picture three times per day on there, always to a different photo of Hilary Duff or Jacob from Twilight. You change your “availability status” to song lyrics relevant to the crush who is online. You log on and off several times, hoping to get his attention. You’re an online vixen, 2hot4u.
You will learn the difference between your online life and “IRL” are a cautionary balance. There are certain people who can know about your effervescent, flirtatious ways on the web, while you must maintain your cool, and sometimes even your innocence, in front of others.
Oh, dear Emily. One day, believe it or not, the person you are on the Internet will be the person you are in real life. The same posts you share on Facebook will be the ones you debate about in protests in front of Parliament buildings and with peers and co-workers. You will no longer hide between the shield of the screen, you will be one with it. You will be confident in the statuses you post, as opposed to being ashamed of conversations that “accidentally” got leaked in your 5th grade class by the boy who did not deserve the massive crush you had on him.
It all seems so serious now, I know. Countless online relationships have come and gone in mere hours. Every other day, it’s the end of the world.
But don’t worry, Emily. Nothing lasts forever.