I've noticed these holes in the knowledge I've been able to obtain. There are certain groups of beautiful, skinny girls in beautiful, skinny clothes containing six known faces with archives of who they are and who they know only one click away, and then one girl, with no tags, no profiles, nothing. This girl is an absolute mystery. Her friends know her. Her family knows her. Her pretty face appears occasionally in pretty group photos. Yet, strangely enough, those of us who do not know her personally do not know her at all. We have no judgements to make and no way of making any without speaking to her. What would it be like to be this girl?
We are all voluntarily upkeeping these self-branding profiles of ours. This isn't an assignment. It isn't a mandatory form of identification in our society. We choose to do this. How liberating would it be to see something wonderful, taste something delicious or have an experience so genuinely funny, and want to keep the feeling all to ourselves? Sharing is an addiction, and once you have a platform to do so, going back seems utterly ridiculous.
It is because of this that we are all trapped and connected in this huge database overflowing with unnecessary information. We want everyone to know all these qualities about us. We want them to know who we associate with, what we find important, what we look like - and we try with all our might to make them care about us. We are forever wielders of the camera, culprits of recording moments and seeking external validation.
While all this is happening we are also handing over our validation with envy. We spend hours pouring over the highlights. People have nice clothes, nice shoes, forever seem to be having the time of their lives, and watching them is just as addictive as making them watch us. We become influenced and inspired to be just like them. This huge database is a brainwashing box bursting with culture. What must this girl be like without it?
If she isn't spending hours pouring over her own narcissistic profile along with everyone else's, what is she doing with her time?
I imagine myself waking up and getting dressed up for the day. I don't pick up my phone and spend an extra half hour in bed. I don't pose for the camera in the mirror once my hair has been adequately brushed. Instead I go downstairs, eat breakfast, and gather my daily dose of culture from a magazine full of colour and beautiful, expensive things.
I imagine myself with more brain cells and a higher capacity for concentration. There are no distractions. There is no way for me to know what everyone else is doing. There are no outlets to voice any complaints about maths assignments and television shows. There is just knowledge in a looming pile of printed notes sitting on my desk.
I imagine myself with project after project. Perhaps I'll always have a word document open in the background. It'll be a piece I'll be proud enough of to edit until perfect. I'd have a blog or an archive full of well-thought-out opinions, full of essays worth reading. Perhaps that's what I'd do with all my extra hours.
It is unfortunate that to disconnect is something that I could never do. This need to share, this need for knowledge, it overcomes me. I will never experience the liberation of being free of the constraints of constant connection.
There is a balance. Perhaps one day this connection will stop being a necessity, and instead morph into something positive.