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You Can’t Erase Yourself

Embrace the life that the Internet has chosen for you. All the pictures create your image. Your home is made of everything you’ve created a profile for. The anonymous commenters you’ve argued with are your noisy neighbors and your regular YouTube vloggers are the people you have coffee and a chat with.

It has been over 12 years that I have been active on the Internet. Sometimes I stop and try to think hard of all the places where I participated in discussions or signed up to be a part of a community. I’m recently battling with online sites to find IRL friends. I have made decisions to put time and effort into attractive profiles, but flee in terror when something comes along that could lead to a *physical* meeting. My life and ideas exist more fully online. I can talk to someone in person, but I remember that I have a blog where they can see how good my writing is or tumblr where they can see what I find funny or beautiful or they could find my old LJ and see what a complaining bitch I can be, but also how I see the world and my dreams. The real life me can’t be summarized in a profile, but I wish it could.

That went a little off the mark of what I originally wanted to say. I wanted to explore those weird niches that I fit into online. For a long time, when I first entered this digital world, I didn’t care who knew what about me. Those words I’ve said fill the background radiation of my Internet universe. I really liked posting to a site called Divine Whispers to defend my liberal religious paganism and to grow as someone of faith. I joined this site before deciding to become a religion major. I think I should have foreseen that decision. Anyway, I haven’t posted in forever, but my words are still there for anyone who wants to see all the biggest arguments from early 2000s. (I also tried to post on pro-Pagan boards like Witches’ Voice, but found it much more fun to face challenges from people who were serious about stupid opinions.)

I was reminded of this topic because I haven’t posted to my LiveJournal recently, but occasionally the little LJ bots will spam a post so I’ll see, “I am doing research for my university thesis, thanks for your great points, now I am acting on a sudden impulse.” Yeah. Yeah, that’s great. Today I got one such e-mail and it was on a huge post about dreams. This was from 3 years ago. I remember the details. I mourn now not keeping that journal up, but from 2004 to 2010 I made enough posts to make it worth having.

frank

I did *not* make enough comments on Dead Nigel’s DeadJournal to warrant its existence. Apparently I wanted to make an advice column based on Dead Nigel. I think most of the questioners were ex-boyfriends and my roommate. I’m kind of glad I let that one go.

For years my high school friends and I maintained a website on a character we called “The Evil Elf”. I know we actively took it down, but part of me always hopes I can find some scraps of it that exist. The e-mail address I had is no longer in use and Anglefire didn’t have any other personal info. So I guess that part of my Internet self is gone, but my real self remembers… and cringes.

During college I had an Emory Learnlink… message board thing. Learnlink was our inter-college mail system. My message board was called “Of Gods and Men”. My friends thought it was cool. At least they told me it was. I will accept this delusion. It had sub-boards for different topics. I guess it was like Reddit, only we knew the identities of the flamers. That didn’t make the trolls any less bold. Unfortunately we all graduated and got kicked off the LL so alas “Of Gods and Men” is no longer active.

I’ve read webcomics that have evolved into monsters or disappeared forever. I’ve blogged on all manners of topics, including a specialty blog on my mom that has since been deleted since she discovered the Internet. If she read that sentence, I’ll have explaining to do. I’ve found hundreds of recipes and art projects that will never get done because the pictures make me feel inadequate as a human being. I’ve used the Internet to feed all sorts of weird fandoms (think Xena RPGs) and have been called a stalker by people who are one to talk. And I have pushed and pushed to have my meager additions to the world acknowledged. “Likes” “Reblogs” “Follows” and any comments (good or bad) can become an obsession for things I put a personal touch on. (I keep away from my Twitter account for the sake of my ego.)

I’m not sure why I went on a nostalgic trip like this. I could probably find more stuff in my Internet closet that hasn’t seen the light of day in years, but I’ll save that. If not for another post, I’ll have to write it down somewhere because those are the pieces that ultimately tie me to the ether that is The Cloud.

This may be the longest personal blog post I’ve ever written. Don’t expect any more of these out of me. I just want people to know that death cannot undo the scars I have left on your precious set of tubes we call “The Internet”.

Oh, and Big Brother is watching.

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