Letter to my younger, embarrassing self

The first major social network I signed up for Facebook, which was a huge upgrade from MSN in the sixth grade. My sole purpose was to use it as a platform to connect with people at my school (as if seeing them 5 days in a row wasn’t enough). I remember posting statuses about every single thing I was doing. I was a bit too active back then, but it was the trend. I would complain about school, family or even post about the banana I ate an hour ago — I had no filter. People would always like or comment, which would always give me so much satisfaction. When we weren’t commenting on each other’s statuses, we would have full on conversations through each other’s walls, completely ignoring the chat feature altogether.

On top of that, I remember liking thousands of pages I felt I could relate to, with titles such as, “like if you hate math” or something of that nature. I am currently still struggling with unlinking all of these pages, but to no avail. Seeing how many likes some of these pages have received, I even tried making some of my own. To my surprise, I have cultivated a following of 90 people on one of my pages.

This is not even the most embarrassing thing I have done on this network. I would post multiple photos almost daily because I brought my camera to school every day. This was before smart phones became popular, but even then, I still felt the need to post selfies for self validation. Looking back, I regret almost everything, from the way I used to type to the things I posted on my page.

Not much has changed since then. If anything, it may have gotten worse. The importance of vanity metrics has taken over for some people and has amplified over the years. People still seek validation on social media platforms, which resonated with me back in the sixth grade as well. However, these metrics are being taken advantage of by companies and others trying to monetize off of this data.

Back then, social media was a fun way to escape and was sort of like an online diary for me. Nowadays, people plan the posts they publish online by using planned and canned content — it feels less personal. Looking back, I wouldn’t change anything because I feel like I was using Facebook to its full potential. I was engaging with my friends and family and having fun while doing so. Compared to my usage of Facebook today, it was more for entertainment rather than convenience. I feel like I’ve embarrassed myself enough in the old days that I’m more of a passive viewer, rarely contributing my thoughts. I’m glad I was able to post freely at one point without feeling like a burden, although I’m positive some of my family members muted me and I wouldn’t blame them… I was that 12 year old cousin/niece/sister that wouldn’t shut up.

However, knowing the consequences of posting something online and not being able to permanently delete it frightens me. I probably would’ve made this known to my younger self and advise myself to not post that album full of really embarrassing selfies in my washroom. All jokes aside, I don’t regret my decisions. I was able to use this platform to reconnect with my elementary school friends after moving by a stroke of luck (or hardcore stalking). Without being my impulsive, younger self, I would’ve never thought about keeping up with the people from my past. In some ways, I even admire my 12 year old self who did whatever she wanted without dwelling on the “what ifs”. All in all, I’m glad to have begun my social media journey on a great start.