These days there’s barely a magazine/newspaper not warning us from the dark side of the internet. We’re being told we should finally go on a digital detox. We realize that the worst things for our self-esteem aren’t those VS models walking the runway, but people like you and me, showing off their perfect bodies on Instagram. They tell us how social media ruins our lives and how we should start living in the real world rather than online. And while I do agree with some of these claims – I cannot fully support them. Because to me, the internet is one of the best things that ever happened. That might sound cheesy, I know, but hear me out first.
THE INTERNET HAS HELPED ME RESTORE MY FAITH IN (FEMALE) FRIENDSHIP
I’ll be honest. I’m not the most outgoing person and making new friends doesn’t come naturally to me. I envy those who can just enter a party and come home with two new besties in tow. But that just isn’t who I am. On the Internet, though, making friends is so much easier than in real life. When I was 13, something happened that I, even almost 10 years later, still can barely talk about. Back then I turned to my friend and she twisted the thing and turned it into something that it was not, before telling everyone we knew about. While I think she didn’t quite WANT to hurt me but was rather saving herself from having to deal with the consequences, it destroyed my faith in friendship so deeply I still find it hard to trust people. So I went online, started a blog and opened up to strangers on Tumblr and co. These people were supportive, nice and helped me in a way that I have never experienced before – despite not really knowing me at all.
Even now, I would much rather text you when I have a problem, rather than sitting in front of you, pouring my heart out while looking into your eyes. I find it easier to communicate via writing than speaking. Plus, the added distance gives me the freedom to talk much more openly about what I’m going through. Perhaps that’s why I love blogging so much. And the thing is, I know quite a few people who feel the exact same way.
THE INTERNET HAS HELPED ME GROW AS A PERSON
Social media is often criticized for destroying people’s self-esteem and confidence. But to me, it did exactly the opposite. The internet, and even more so this blog, has helped me grow as a person, step out of my comfort zone and love me for who I am. Social media is all about the people you follow. So yes, if you follow only superficial accounts, chances are that seeing 200 bikini selfies of their perfect figure in a row won’t exactly make you feel better. But there are plenty of genuinely amazing people out there, who encourage their followers to try something new, accept themselves and show off their flaws.
Writing on here has made me realize that there are others out there, going through the same thing, thinking the same way. Whenever I upload a Sunday Chat post, I get tons of comments, emails and private messages from readers thanking me and talking to me about their stance on things. And that is something I absolutely love. No one ever has to be alone on the Internet as it’s so easy to find someone liking the same things you do, even if no one living near you does.
THE INTERNET HAS HELPED ME BECOME MORE TOLERANT, OPEN-MINDED, AND EDUCATED
Luckily, I was fortunate enough to attend a very good school, offering a great education and teaching me values that really matter. If it wasn’t for the internet, however, I don’t know if I’d be as open-minded as I hope to be now. Especially twitter and Tumblr have shown me that the world isn’t black and white. Whenever something is going on in this world, there are hundreds of perspectives being offered to you on social media and I believe that you wouldn’t get even half as much if you’d only stay in your small-town and read their local newspaper. Of course, again, it hugely depends on the people you decide to follow. But once you found your tribe, you can learn so many new things only by hitting the follow button on someone’s profile/blog.
So I genuinely believe that the Internet isn’t such a bad place after all. It’s all about what you make of it. Sure, your social feeds can be utterly superficial and boring. But they can also turn into something that makes you grow as a person, educate you and help you to connect with others in a way that real life just doesn’t. So let’s all just agree that the internet isn’t half as bad as people want us to believe and give it the credit it deserves to get!
What do you think about this topic? Are you pro internet or do you think we should all just log off and live in the real world instead?
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