Purge Appeal

When you were five, it was of utmost importance that you had someone to walk out onto the playground with. The same went for bathroom visits as well. Pack mentality was drilled in early on, and none of us questioned it.

These were simpler times, before the number of followers you had on instagram was even a thing. Yes, I and many others my age were the last few to live in a time where social media was not the be all and end all of life. We had mobiles, but they lit up and were made of rubber. The battery life was stellar, lasting a week or more because all we did was top them up with credit we’d get from saving pocket-money and text ‘r u going 2 the park 2nite’.

We didn’t have to unfriend, block or change our account names to avoid people we didn’t like. We just stopped hanging around with them, taking our mum’s advice when she’d tell us “don’t spend time with people who do not make you happy”.

Now, we can pretend people don’t exist anymore by tapping the block button on our phones. All traces of their lives can be eradicated instantly, and it’s as if you don’t even know their name. They don’t even pop up on the back of other people’s feeds. It’s magical. That is, until you see them in person again. The toe curling, nauseating awkwardness that follows that initial meeting is more hassle than it’s worth.

Awkward moments aside though, going back to my mother’s advice is sometimes necessary.

People purging is a thing I have recently started doing across my social media accounts. I have fallen out of the habit of following people purely because we went to school together/we occasionally say hi on the high street/ I feel bad if I don’t. Instead I have regained, to some extent, control over my social media bubble. I now only follow or befriend people whose lives I take a genuine interest in, or whose work inspires me to be better. I don’t follow someone I went to primary school with who posts the same sunday roast on insta every week anymore, because they weren’t doing what social media is intended for; connecting and influencing.

People with thousands of friends on Facebook, or followers on Instagram and Twitter 9 times out of 10 don’t know over half of the people who follow them. And that’s totally ok! Gaining a following is like having your own free fan club, it’s weirdly exhilarating and encouraging, especially if you use social media as a platform to present your work.

But I am just tired of scrolling through mindless posts that I don’t care about, made by people I no longer connect with.

People purging feels brutal at first, because we have this weird attachment to our own and other people’s online profiles and personas. Having access to a very structured and planned out insight into someone else’s life fulfills our need to be nosey. But taking away the courteous follows, and unfriending people you wouldn’t say hello to in person is the best way to spring clean your phone, and your mind. What’s the use in spending your valuable time looking at another person’s rehearsed life through a phone screen?

We aren’t on the playground anymore. You don’t need a group of people to walk out into the crowd with, because you’re perfectly capable of handling shit on your own. You no longer have to conform to the pack mentality, because you know you’ll get nowhere on your own if you’re just mindlessly following others.

 

Play

Let’s play a game.

The game is called attempting to juggle your social life, work responsibilities, and family commitments along with a full-time degree. I’ve been playing it for just over a year and a half now.

Basically, I don’t have my shit together, like many other teenagers who are technically adults but still just running around like a headless chicken trying to cope. I put off doing laundry until I’ve completely run out of pants, I regularly sleep through the five alarms I have to set to get out of bed, and the number of nights spent eating sharing bags of frazzles in bed binge watching Sex and the City is a number I don’t even want to try to guess.

With this in mind, I want to make this section dedicated to pieces of writing that take a less structured and more playful approach.

A lot of people advise to keep your private and work life separate. But people love to be nosey, especially on the internet, so I want to be as open as possible. That may include swearing for emphasis, and heavy doses of sarcasm, just to warn you.

However, it’s worth noting that deeply personal questions such as ‘when did you lose your virginity’ and ‘what’s your address’ are strictly off-limits and will be ignored.

As I said in my previous post about ‘Work’, this blog is pretty much an online journal. I am using it to express myself purely through words, so it can’t all be straight-laced and politically correct all the time, because that’s not a true expression of me.

Creating a connection with an audience is the most powerful talent any creative can have. People can relate to each other in so many ways, and that’s what I love about writing. I want to be that voice you hear whilst you read, the paragraph you copy and paste to keep as a memoir because it struck a chord, and the blog post you send to your friends because it’s ‘so you’.

This space will be the place to play the game of risk, test limits and start sharing.

Are you in?