Growing Up In A Twitter Obsessed World

I find it funny sometimes, how growing up in a Twitter obsessed world has shaped my identity in such a way that I can’t imagine what I’d be like if the mass media culture giant no longer existed. I’ve learnt how to adapt and learn amongst a backdrop of misogynistic trolls and clickbait articles, and for those to disappear one suddenly — I don’t know what would happen. Or how I’d react.

I officially date the birth of my online teenage life as the date I first created a Twitter account, aged 14 whilst watching Beverly Hills 90210. Forming a fake online identity from day one, I called myself after one of my favourite 90210 character and set out to host a famous account, much like my online idols whom only held 2000 followers yet seemed so untouchable to my paltry 70. I loved girl bands, I fangirled like nobody’s business and splurged ASDFGHJKL tweets across the net for days when in reality, I was sat on the sofa in my house not actually caring about a popstars’ dog or cat or mom and whether it looked cute in a photo or not.

Until one day, where I found I did care. At least a little.

I don’t know when the lines began to blur between my reality and the reality I posted online, but one day I found I’d somewhat morphed into my online personality without consciously noticing. Not wanting to let complete strangers down or stop the train I’d unknowingly hopped upon, I began over animating my thoughts, exaggerating my everyday movements and discussions until it was too late to become the normal me once again.

It was a weird period in my life.

I’d know every release date of every single of every single artist I even marginally liked, but I wouldn’t buy the album. I’d tell people I knew in real life about my obsession with things, and I wouldn’t shirk away from the thought of people thinking of me as ‘the girl who liked so-and-so,’ but then some part of my brain would be shouting at me, telling me to simply grow up. That I only went along with liking girl groups because everybody else did. It was like a curse, a horrid one that was making me doubt all whom I was. Or who I thought I was, if anything.

I’d post online for weeks and weeks before an album release, trying to help a community of sugar filled teenagers trend something ridiculous that I didn’t even understand myself, and then I’d begin to laugh at the same people I was trying to tweet along with to family and friends from the real world.

It was like a double personality, and one day it had to stop.

I’d had a niggling feeling for a few months that this ‘social media me’ was ridiculous. I felt like Lady GaGa, all cool and Bad Romance hook filled on the inside but parading around in a meat dress outside (or online in my case) to please the masses. And who were these masses? My paltry 900 Twitter followers? People who didn’t even know my real name? I was sure nobody would care if I disappeared from Twitter, and boy was I right.

Nobody even battered an eyelid.

I mean, as a fully grown adult I still use social media. Not many people I know don’t. I just don’t use it as often. And since July, I’ve abandoned using many platforms I thought were ingrained into my daily life.

And people just don’t care, you know? Unless you’re Victoria Beckham, people don’t care if you post pictures of your nights out or not. And that’s something I’m glad I learnt aged 15, before I could get involved any further.

I know Twitter changed my life. It brought me out of my shell, that’s one thing I’m sure of. It taught me to never take things at face value. But did it enhance my life like the 14 year old me thought it would? I’m not convinced.

Olivia is a second year Management student at the University of York. See more at /