It started with the little unique noise of an MSN chat bubble opening.
The feeling of approval being included in someone’s screen name brought you.
-_- B 3 N -_- (Y) kAInEY, KeZ, hEzzI (Y) (L) kATy (L) iDsT
Mate, that luks sik. How did u get ur name 2 go pink?
“Eazi. Go on ur name an put dis b4 [c=12], n then go on ur settingz n character map n u can pik symbols lyk dat © “
That was us. 12, 13 years of age, and that’s the level of sophistication we were at. We weren’t the slick rick, cool, Peaky Blinder-esque teenagers you see on the telly these days.
We sported Helly Hansen’s, Berghaus’, Rockport’s, Ben Sherman’s, and those awful Nike trainers with the rainbow coloured souls.
We began hanging out in parks, in old abandoned schools. We drank alco-pops, cider, Stella, anything. I myself remember the joy at not being ID’d at the age of 13 for a bottle of Red Rooster.
We ran illegal tuck shops out of our rucksacks, and saved the cash to buy every coloured Henley’s t-shirt we could get our hands on.
We’d spend our school days sending the latest Danny Bond track via Infa-Red, and then later Bluetooth’ing over the latest 30 second pornographic clip doing the rounds on our Sony Walkman’s.
We’d fuck our computers up with Limewire. We’d fuck our education up with other greater socialpriorities.
We pined for love. Not love from one another, but craved the artificial love provided by Bebo.
We began to evolve a need to project ourselves through the shallow means of social media. We’d select a track on our Bebo pages that we felt others would enjoy.
We migrated further into the new realm that was Facebook. We felt the need to display every detail of our lives for others to scroll through and judge whether they like it or not. We’d mock others, we’d judge others, we’d belittle others. We’d scramble on top of each other, trying desperately to reach the top of this digitalized social pile.
We began Tweet. We began to become politically switched on. We voiced our opinions. We absorbed fake news. We found it hard to distinguish fake news from real news.
We began to Snap. We became sleazy. We’d slide into DM’s. We’d sext. We’d cheat, we’d lie. We’d again share every moment of our lives to a network of vultures, prying intently into our every moves. We’d hide our secretly insecure souls behind a veil of filters and dog ears.
We Insta’d. We’d compare ourselves to others. We’d compare our bodies to others. We’d compare our diets to others. We’d compare our relationships to others. We’d compare our lifestyles to others. We’d ogle at others, and not ogle at our own successes. We’d Boomerang chinking champagne glasses.
We became defined by other people’s judgement. We became downhearted behind closed doors. We jumped into unfulfilling, soul destroying jobs. We valued possessions. We’ve tried to change the world. We look up to Stormzy. We look up to Corbyn. We’re sometimes a bit lost.
Even as I write this, I’m sub consciously anxious to the negative, mocking reception this piece may receive, despite being an expression of my thought.
We’re a slave to the iPhone. We’re a slave to those around us. We’re a slave to the image of a life we’re meant to live. We’re a slave to a particular brand of car.
Do we travel? Do we buy that house we don’t really want? Do we become indebted to a piece of metal on four wheels?
We need to walk into the wilderness, the beautiful wilderness, and look around. Take notice.
We signed in, but it’s time to sign out.