For today’s process post, I wanted to dive in more into my backstory which was brought up during the participation activity for week six (which I didn’t notice at the time, I was too excited for my Valentine’s day plans oops). As I wrote last week, I’m still developing my brand and figuring out how exactly I want to say what I want to say. I have a lot of hesitation in developing my brand, and I think this stems from some of my online experiences as a child.
I have been online since I was old enough to use a computer. In the early 2000s, I remember going to the computer lab at school and playing games on pollypocket.com, barbie.com, and myscene.com. In the mid-2000s I created my first blog on a site called Piczo.
At the time I had my Piczo site I was living in Mexico, so I’m not sure how popular this platform was in Canada, but in Mexico and internationally it was quite popular in the mid-2000s. It gave you complete freedom in designing your site by allowing you to add different pages and customize the layout and colour scheme through HTML coding, which at the time I had no idea would be a useful skill to have someday! I oftentimes think that I should brush up on my HTML skills from fifth grade in an attempt to land a job after I graduate in a few months.
When I came back to Canada in 2006, some shortlived social media platforms were used before Facebook blew up. Bebo, Nexopia, and Tagged were three sites that I remember using in grade seven, and I would clog my feeds with my random preteen mumbo jumbo. I never had the perfectly curated feeds of my peers!
This is an embarrassing thing to admit, but just so you can get a sense of how I’ve always been very open with my thoughts, I had an incident on Tagged when I was in grade seven. A girl that I had previously been friends with had been blowing up my home phone and spamming me trying to get me to be her friend again. I expressed my annoyance with her by writing on my Tagged page “I hate _______.” (her name)
This incident led to her mother calling my mother, my teacher telling me that “we are all children of God so we don’t hate one another” (Catholic school probs), and my parents restricting my computer use for a little while. Obviously, at age 25 I wouldn’t condone saying that you hate specific people online, but I was a kid, this girl was harassing me, and I was frustrated. Unfortunately, however, this was not the last time drama was started because of something I posted online.
In grade nine, I had an incident involving my original Piczo blog, and a new blog I had created at the time. It’s kind of a long story, and maybe one day I’ll tell it in full on here, but a friend I had at the time was really into Gossip Girl and started writing comments on my Piczo page talking about people at our school (she used their initials rather than their full names) and signed them with “xoxo, Gossip Girl.” She then created her own blog to write posts on, I linked it on my blog, and the whole thing blew up.
Everyone in our grade thought that I was the person responsible for the blog, and before I knew it, the whole school knew about it. I remember a girl who was two grades above me yelling “Gossip Girl!” down the hall at me, someone I had never even spoken to before. Kids in my grade made snide comments about me, whispered about me when I was in the room, and overall just made me feel socially isolated.
While I do recognize now that trying to be Gossip Girl in real life is not the best idea, kids were pretty freaking dramatic over it. That incident negatively impacted my entire high school experience and made me feel like a weirdo for being interested in other people’s lives. I now recognize that being interested in the lives of others is normal, but that there are better ways to express this interest that don’t involve telling other people’s stories online without their permission.
My focus now is to talk from my perspective. A lot of my stories will involve other people, but I never want to make the post about them. This is my blog, and the emphasis will be on my and my life, and how I’ve experienced things with other people.
These past online experiences have shaped how I view opening up online. I could probably go on and on about this topic, but this is something that I’ve been very scared to do as a result of my past experiences. I never want my intentions to be seen as negative, and I fear being misunderstood.
To sum up, I have been interested in having an online presence for most of my life. As a kid, I would post unfiltered thoughts online, and some of them were not always appropriate. It is normal to have some inappropriate thoughts in our day to day lives, but we don’t want to put all of those out there for the world to judge and pick apart, because the world ultimately doesn’t know our hearts.
The challenge is to stay open and authentic while not giving people the chance to weaponize my writing and use it against me. People have always fascinated me, and writing about the human experience and more specifically, the twenty-something experience, is what my brand is about. I’m excited to see how this develops over time.