When we went back to the UK for my husband’s contract, I felt it necessary to drop my Facebook profile and create an alias. It created a sense of safety should anyone want to look me up that I didn’t want to. It allowed me the positive aspect of staying in touch with friends all over the world as well as groups and articles that I enjoy reading through the newsfeed. LinkedIn has always been my professional place so I doubted losing any professional connections as Facebook is a social network of course. I had periods of being unsure and would periodically deactivate my account but the draw card is seeing good friends status updates and keeping in contact in real time.
When we relocated to New Zealand, an old friend got in touch and one of their connections was distressing for me. I didn’t want to lose my friend, but I had no choice, the connection hadn’t been noticed immediately, so comments and pictures would have been viewable. Despite the pseudonym, I felt exposed and vulnerable. I deleted the account and created a new profile. Its not been particularly easy for friends to keep up with the changes, and I really appreciate their patience. I took all necessary precautions, blocking, advising the potential ‘gateways’ not to discuss details – that alone has been an extremely traumatic experience filled with learning curves. There certainly seems to be no ‘right’ way to handle things. And it seems the more you try to protect other people and the more you try to create less hassle – the more you end up creating it – for both parties! There is no doubt, social media has HUGE ramifications. You literally never know who can be connected to whom. Your safest person can stand right in the same shadow of evil. It really is both odd and scary how things can pan out.
Anyway, I am of course, outspoken, outlandish, I comment a lot on Facebook, on people’s status’s, I post things, I argue – I am hardly an unknown. To extend where people in different countries have asked who I am. This has begged the question, if you care so much about your security – why do you leave yourself so open to being talked about? You cannot seek safety in social media, but comment frequently and contribute to emotive or confrontational conversations! Of course people will ask about you. Either you own It and be yourself or you, basically, shut up! My response is that – why should I tailor myself? I am this way in real life. Why should I live in fear? Why I can’t I say how I feel? Speak for what I believe in? Comment on something when I want to without fear of someone saying something and everything starting to unravel? IT IS UNFAIR! Then the answer again – BE YOURSELF! do the security things that have to be done, but really its all or nothing. The secondary comment I heard was – Who said it was supposed to be fair? I just find that comment sickening. I think everyone is entitled to some fairness. Everyone. Or what is the point?
So, with shaking hands and rapid breath, I closed down the Facebook account I had come to know so well and opened my real account. I had missed my real account. Friends that I had lost contact with. Old pictures I hadn’t seen in a while. It was both scary and liberating. I hadn’t realised that by reluctance to reopen the account held such deep roots to the past for me. That something as simple as reclaiming my name and my identity on social media would signal a move forward from hiding. Am I saying that I am no longer ashamed of who I am?
I utilised the opportunity as the account had been redundant to look at links from my connections that I had found by accident. Its a confronting and painful thing to do. It leaves so many questions. When I drive I always drive with the window part down. I’m very claustrophobic. I like moving air around me whenever I am still. Sometimes the wind can be so strong that if I turn a corner the force hits me, it takes my breath away and blurs my vision. Its a horrible moment, as I’m in control of my car. There is a moment, fleeting of losing control of my body, being at the mercy of a powerful machine, it happens so very rarely of course. But I mention it because its that terrifying feeling, that loss of control, that moment of realisation of total loss of control, that is what I had when I looked at these pictures, these profiles.These names. These lives. There was something bigger in control. And I couldn’t breathe.
I have blocked a lot of people now. I don’t want anyone to hurt me or cause me stress. I just want good friends, acquaintances and my usual news.
Now, I have taken my place back. One small step….