My Online Life Is In Shambles
What if I decide I don’t want a “personal brand” anymore?
June 20, 2014 | Summer 2014
I didn’t know I was carefully cultivating my online life until it all came tumbling down.
I started tweeting in November of 2009, with the sole purpose of catching up on Smallville news. What I found there became so much more; I made friends with fellow TV watchers, bloggers and critics. It was an outlet for me, as I live-tweeted my heart out, and commented on the day’s hottest TV news.
When Fantastic Fangirls sent a call-out for new writers, it felt natural to apply. I loved everything pop culture, and comics about TV, so I’d write about it. As simple as that. Soon thereafter, I really got into Parenthood, and my friend Lucia kindly hosted my weekly recaps and reviews on her site, Heroine TV. Inconnu magazine came after that, where I quickly went from contributor to staff editor. For approximately 6 months, I was churning out content on those three platforms, and loving every minute of it. I knew what type of piece belonged on what platform, looked forward to writing my assignments, and kept up my academic work flawlessly. I kept watching, and tweeting about, my favorite TV shows.
I should have known that it wouldn’t last.
Real life took over. Full time internship, classes, thesis-writing. Running for a position on my graduate student association. Real life responsibilities, real life adult job.
I couldn’t keep up. I stopped reviewing Parenthood. I only answered weekly Q&As for Fantastic Fangirls. Once in awhile I’d contribute to inconnu. Unwatched episodes piled up.
I don’t really like to use the term “real life” as opposed to my “online life”, since online, for me, is as much “real life” as anything else. However, I hadn’t realized how seperate I kept these two versions of myself. GloryisBen isn’t a household name. Almost nobody knew that I wrote for blogs. And I never really spoke of myself on Twitter, either.
Now, though, as things calm down, I’m living a virtual existential crisis. My two lives have twisted and merged and I can’t distinguish between the two. I’ve written really personal things for inconnu, some of my IRL friends are following me on Twitter, some of my Twitter friends recently became my IRL friends… I can’t tell if things are upside down or rightside up.
I’m in mourning for my online persona. It felt really nice to have an outlet completely separated from my life. But I don’t think it can exist anymore, and it makes me profoundly sad. That sadness keeps me from knowing how, where, or what to write. I’m stuck. I don’t know how much energy I can put into my online writing, because my life has become this new beast that I’m only just starting to get acquainted with. Plus, I’ve made so many new friends that I want to spend time with them, too. Mojitos on patios and the like. For the first time since I can remember, I now have a rotating dial of numbers that I can punch in if I’m feeling lonely on a Thursday night, who I know will be up for frisbee in the park or overpriced froyo. This is the new, shiny, attractive toy that is keeping me from organizing my online life. But I miss it. So if I need to prioritize, what do I prioritize?
Gabby is an Acadian who’s missing the sea and splitting her time completing her Master of Social Work at UOttawa and watching TV. She also writes for Fantastic Fangirls & Heroine TV and tweets at @gloryisben.