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Ever since I was 10 I’ve had my own computer, at first it was an absolute tank that you could only use paint and word on, but it was my own computer and it felt great having this amazing piece of tech in front of me. I was 14 when I got my first laptop, the freedom to browse the internet how I wanted, creating those social media accounts, signing up to MSN, because everyone at school had it, and you wanted to be like your classmates, you’d ask for their ‘addies’ in lessons and write them in your notebook, and if it was someone you really fancied, you’d usually ask your mate to get it for you. I joined sites like Bebo, Myspace, Piczo and Facebook. Facebook was not even that much of a big deal back then like a fair few people had it, but Myspace and Bebo were the ones, sadly neither of them exist anymore. I became friends with many online people, those to this day I haven’t met, we spoke about everything and when I was lonely, I always knew there would be someone online I could reach out to.
I was 15 when Tumblr took off, I would spend hours upon hours looking at blogs that people had created, at first it was all of the bright coloured fun ones, I even went to a meet up with another friend I knew in rl, in Birmingham and we all took a photo together which I had in my room until I was 18. Although I found it hard to reach out to people at the meet as a lot of people were internet famous, I felt a part of something. Slowly I fell into a trap of the dark side of Tumblr, the blogs were less colour and more black and white. I watched Skins around this time too, and I was constantly reblogging quotes about Skins, which if you’ve ever seen it, you’ll know the themes within it are hard-hitting. From following the blogs who were sharing these quotes, I’d fall deeper into their blogs, and looking back I wish I’d shut down the computer and stopped. There were blogs on self-harm, including how to do it, videos of people who felt depressed and suicidal and were sharing their thoughts online. My escape of online was becoming my worse enemy and I couldn’t even see it. The people on the site were my friends, they felt the way I did, and nobody else did.
I felt myself being sucked into this online cycle of self-harm and depression. I didn’t link the two until I was older, I started to use the site a lot less and things felt better like I could breathe again. But I kept going back, I was getting messages about down people felt in my ask box, and I knew I had to respond. My followers were growing and along with it so was my self-esteem, these people really wanted to follow the content I was posting. The quotes and pictures were eating away at me, but when I started college, I took a step back and began to realise how toxic it was for me.
I joined Twitter in college and quickly became my favourite social media platform, I ended up talking to like-minded people, it made me feel a part of something again and I liked it. I became part of the blogging community and everyone was supportive. Taking part in chats, reading each other’s posts and taking part in cute swaps. Although I still find myself a part of the blogging community, I don’t think it will ever be like it was again. The social media I find myself using the most and have done for years is Instagram and as much as I hate to admit it, Facebook too. Even if I don’t post anything on Facebook, I can spend countless hours of my team looking at my feed, half of the time just looking at the same stuff over and over and I feel like my brain is melting sometimes. Something doesn’t really exist until it is on Facebook it feels sometimes. I am guilty of being a part of it too.