There are a ton of reasons behind why people do what they do on the Internet, but self-staging plays a role quite often and I genuinely hate that. The Internet has become, or rather always been, the one and only place where everything can easily be faked; identities, lives, looks, personalities, relationships and things far beyond my knowledge. But even if we stay realistic, most people only tend to share the positive and I can downright understand why they do. We want to share our happiest moments, memories, our best selves for the world to see, blending out the negatives. Fact is, those negatives are part of our lives all the same. Flaws make us human. Life consists of ups and downs; it’s never a straight graph. But that’s not what people see when they scroll through their news feed on social media and I, among quite some others, want that to change. That’s my reason number one behind why I do what I do on the Internet.
Ever since I started Instagram roughly around five years ago, it has been my sanctuary. I probably don’t have to go into detail about being unpopular in middle and high school, but it is what it is. It’s not really the others fault though, I guess I myself am to blame here. Growing up I became more and more shy. I was quite straightforward as a kid, always talking, always longing for attention, blabbering to complete strangers, making friends anywhere. I don’t know what changed, but I have never been that way again since I was about seven. The years around 7th and 8th grade have probably been among the hardest ones of my life up until today. I had immense trouble opening up to classmates. I didn’t behave childish, but since I have always been among the youngest, I felt I didn’t belong. At that time I would go straight up to my room when I got home from school and cry. It was only about a year later that I set up my Instagram account. After some getting used to the platform I went all out. It was the first time in a while that I felt understood. I started publishing short stories, joined group chats about books and eventually started photography. That took me about two years, but I was happy. I had people who truly appreciated who I was and what I was doing. My follower count was at 500 by then. I wanted to scream it out into the whole world, but it was a close-kept secret. I didn’t want anyone near me to know. But my account kept growing and I kept going and then I hit 1000 and I felt like I was going to burst if I didn’t tell my family and closest friends, so I did. The support was immense and I started to be downright passionate about what I was doing online. I shared simple photos of books I took with my phone, captioning them with personal words and stories or my opinions on books. After four years my follower count hit 5000. I was over the moon, started using an actual camera. Within only another year that follower count doubled. Roughly another twelve months have passed since then and here I am. Through it all Instagram has been my sanctuary.
So yes, the selfish reason behind why I do what I do on the Internet, is because it was the only place where I felt like I belonged, felt safe enough to open up. I am more than just thankful I took this step all those years back. It helped me find out who I am, and who I wanted to be all along. But that’s only the reason behind why I did what I did when I first started my journey. The Internet, and the people behind the screens all over the world, has done me a lot of good and lately I have been trying to give something back. Which brings me to the reasons why I do what I do on the Internet today.
The reason why I do what I do on here is to make the world just a little better, a little kinder, day after day. I do what I do on here to raise awareness; no matter if that awareness is about body image issues or social media perfectionism or mental health. I do what I do to spread kindness. I do what I do to motivate, no matter if I motivate to study or to read or to be creative. I do what I do to make the world, a few peoples lives, just a little better. I do what I do on here as a kind of thank you, to help others reach what I reached, am still reaching; self-acceptance, self-confidence and self-love. This community helped me see the power of kindness, helped me realize the value of all the small things in life. But most importantly this community was able to teach me what everyone I know personally, failed to assure me in, and that is just how worthy I really am. I do am, and always was, endlessly loved by the ones close to me, but sometimes that just isn’t enough growing up. Sometimes you’re just so lost within yourself, so uncertain because of all the people who don’t seem to be okay with who you are, you can’t believe the ones closest to you. This community had the power to prove me wrong about myself. Strangers behind screens from around the world were able to teach me that I deserve to be loved, that I deserve to love and respect myself. They showed me that there is beauty within me. I am who I am and where I am because of them, because of you. I am writing because of you. Without this community, I would have likely lost all faith in myself during this past year. You never ceased to support me and I wish I could do every single one of you as much good as you did me. Thank you. Thank you for making me all the things I haven’t been before. Braver and bolder and kinder and even more sensible, because I swear I can feel all of your hearts beating, can see your dreams hidden inside of them. Let them out, share them. Be braver and bolder, but above all be kind. Because kindness has more power than hate.
But before I end this, let me show you that there do is hope for the Internet. That there are people alongside me, who are doing what they are doing online for very similar reasons and the world deserves to see that. We are not alone and we are willing to be here for the long run. Love, Anna xx
“I do what I do to try to be kind, to share my passion with people, to show them what I think is beautiful, because it’s always better to share beauty than to keep it for yourself, to feature the little details of life, the ones people might not always notice, and I do what I do to make my little Internet place a safe and kind and accepting place.” by Zoé Hoibian (lechoixdezoe)
“The interner is my source of self expression. I want to share my story and I want to share with people what it feels like to be a real human, what it feels like to love and give love, what it feels like to be kind and a good person. I want people to feel connected or at least like they’re not alone in this world because there is someone who goes through the same things. I want to share what it’s like to feel deeply, to feel everything. And most importantly, what a blessing and a curse it is to be human. And also to inspire people to never give up on themselves or their lives because we all have bad days, but we can start over the next day and make it even better than yesterday.” by (fromjupitertomars)
“This little corner of the Internet is one of the few parts of my life in which I don’t feel self-conscious being entirely me. I started this account without telling anyone I knew, so everyone who’s turned up did so because they appreciate what I create, not because of any sense of obligation, and that’s quite a special thing! I feel valued for my words, thoughts, and photography, and that means the world to me. I also love how easy and encouraged it is to leave nice comments or send messages to make people smile. With only a few moments of your day you can improve someone else’s, and that makes me so happy.” by (meandmagnolia)