If you could get rid of your online life up until this point, would you?
This is a question I’ve been considering for some time, mostly as I’ve been thinking about just how long I’ve been active online. How many fanbases I’ve been a part of. How many forums I’ve posted on. How I can’t remember the login details of my DeviantArt account and I dearly hope no else remembers that it exists.
Basically, I’ve grown up online, at least through my teen years, and that means I’ve left a lot of myself strewn around the internet. Now this isn’t one of those media scare worries about naked university facebook photos that people lose jobs over, because I’m well aware that there’s nothing online that would actually damage me in any way. It’s more that those forum posts, those bad pieces of fanart, videos and even perhaps some of the very early blog posts on here, were made by someone totally different to me, and they don’t really match up to who I am today.
Looking back at this, or at least the stuff I can find since very little is under my real name and some is actually gone now, is a strange trip back through memory lane. I find myself looking at them with an outsiders eye “Did I ever really think like this?” On the one hand, it’s a real privilege to be able to go back and see those perfectly preserved memories, stuck in the electronic amber of the internet. On the other hand, they’re sort of – too real. And because everything is preserved at that same level, at that same amount of importance, if it weren’t for the date stamps everything would seem oddly out of sequence. Teenage me isn’t really in the past, so to speak, because almost everything teenage me did and said is still up there, exactly as when it happened.
But then, if I were to get rid of all that, would it all have to happen again in a few years? An online purge for a new job, another I when I hit thirty, perhaps a frantic mid-life crisis wiping of the slate (assuming the internet hasn’t morphed into something unrecognisable by then.) Plus, this isn’t even getting into the details of how you could achieve such a thing – so many lost passwords, websites that have completely changed, some places I’m sure I’ve just straight up forgotten about. Honestly, it’s better to regard the years of online existence as a blessing, not a curse. After all, it is a privilege, and perhaps one I’ll come to treasure more as I get older.
Still, some of those drawings….