WELCOME BACK, I HATE THE INTERNET
Oppdatert: 14. nov. 2022
Hello! Welcome back to my little corner of the internet. I have missed it so much. I’ve abandoned this place many times over the years, but I have finally returned to dust off the cobwebs and fill you in on how sad I’ve been this year. A new chapter. FUN.
Coming back to my blog is like visiting an old childhood bedroom. It just feels right. Instantly familiar. Safe. It’s where it all began.
I grew up writing.
I grew up within these walls.
And if you’ve been here for awhile, you’ll know that the blog really is where it all began.
10 years ago.
10 years. Sheesh! Have you ever stopped to catch a breath and try to comprehend everything that has happened in the last 10 years? Yes, the formation/ hiatus/ personal lives and solo careers of the One Direction band members, but also social media as a whole and the level in which it has advanced?
10 years ago, my social media presence consisted of the 100 messages I sent to Justin Bieber, 100 days in a row, in attempt to capture his attention and be the “one less lonely girl“ at his next concert.
Back then, there wasn’t an obsessive desire to curate an online presence. What even was an online “presence“ back then anyway? It was a good day if your Instagram photo hit 11 likes. It was a better day if Justin Bieber replied back to your 97th message to him. But it wasn’t as deep as it is these days. There was no social pressure. No glamorized and stages photo ops. No “public figure” labels, or swipe up features exclusive to those “public figures.”
Back in the DAY, people actually planned their outfits according to the weather and NOT THEIR CONTENT CALENDAR!! Crazy.
I crave those early days of social media. The simplicity. The authenticity. The Valencia filter. Catfishing your middle school crush with pictures of your neighbor‘s friend from Sweden.
It was truly a time to be alive.
But what I miss, even more than a chronological Instagram feed...is my personal relationship with the online world.
I have been asked a couple times over the years “How did you gain strangers to a loyal following of you?” and I’ve always shrugged my shoulders in response.
I usually tell people it started when I went on my first solo trip to Bali. It was right after Christmas, during my senior year. I loved to travel and I loved to take pictures and I loved to write. My mom and dad gifted me a journal before I left. Honestly, I think they knew me better than I knew myself. During and nearing the end of my trip, I posted pictures and pieces from my then journaling of three months in Bali to my Instagram posts, captions and stories. It was something. And people ate that shit up.
But this is where my grandma would have cut in and said “WAIT! You’re forgetting something.”
Because in her eyes, the question of how her granddaughter gained strangers to follow her journey, was an easy one to answer. And it wasn’t my travel pictures at all. It started before that.
“My words.” - “My writing.”
My dad, he has a way with words. And my grandma was a fantastic writer. And so I was lucky to be passed down some of their gifts. Not that I consider myself a poet, but I do love to express myself. I used to fill up 3 journals a week as a kid, and in elementary school I was writing dramatic love tragedies every other month.
So when the blogging boom hit, circa 2011 - I was born ready.
My blog was titled, “Miss Sofie Independent“ (because I was raised on Kelly Clarkson.)
And the reason my grandma knew all of this, is because she was Miss Sofie Independent‘s one and only loyal reader.
As I became a teenager, I spent more time writing One Direction fan fiction than I did blogging about my life. I blogged in the way my grandma remembered it. A lot like I do now. A few times a year and each post would always start out with
“Hi! Welcome back. Sorry it’s been so long!”
Some things never change.
But I never completely gave up on the blog. It was an outlet for me to express myself. It was pretty simply... just that. I don’t think I cared if anyone read it. I don’t remember wanting anything to come out of it. I just wrote because I was a teenage girl with a lot of feelings.
The next couple of years, I began traveling more, and so naturally also writing more. People throughout my hometown started to notice. I wrote about the trials and tribulations that came from being a basic teenage girl.
Slowly, I started to develop a following of blog readers. People would DM me on Instagram, begging for another post. The messages would be coming from girls my age, saying things like “How can you put my exact feelings to words?“ “It’s like you’re writing my diary“ and “I had no idea other people felt this way.”
I didn’t either.
This outlet that I once used to discuss my favorite back to school trends, or One Direction fan fiction was now a place I could came to feel seen and heard.
It didn’t matter what I was writing about. I was just being me. In my little corner of the internet.
I loved to write, but I also loved to speak. Berit Mugaas is my mom, do I really need to say more?
My blog was my voice.
And it feels good to use your voice.
So what has happened since? What has social media become in these last seven years? How did we stray so far from the innocence of #SelfieSunday?
It has turned into advertisements, clickbait, flex culture, cancel culture, gender reveals, gender reveals gone wrong, notes app apologies, swipe up links etc.
It has turned into a worldwide open forum. Before, in the Miss Sofie Independent days, my grandma was my only blog reader. Social media wasn‘t connecting us globally the way it is today. Because now, if you decide to participate in the internet, you’re submitted to these algorithms with the potential to reach millions of people, any time you post. Pretty cool? Yep. Pretty terrifying? YEP. Everyone has an opinion. And they’ll find your employer, your grandmother and your hairstylist to make sure you hear about it. Gen-Z spares no one.
In 2022, everyone‘s most prized possession is their online image they have invented. It’s completely, and carefully, curated with up to date, trending outfit pics that took no less than 2 hours to shoot and edit (but still gives off the #noedit vibe) a monetized hobby or two, and a few infographics about the latest current issues everyone feels socially obligated to post about. You have to find the balance of “I don’t care about social media” so here’s 20 photos of me in the same dress, and “I don’t care about social media“ so I’m taking an unexpected 3 week social media break. Posting too much will make it look like you’re on your phone all day. (You are.) So adding the element of mystery is crucial. But not too much, of course, or you won’t appear relatable to your followers. Are you keeping up?
Everyone has a side hustle these days. Oh and for some reason, it’s mostly young moms with multiple small children. The pressure is on all of us. If you’re not swiping up Stanley water bottles to your story, you’re falling behind, babe. And why did we feel the need to add more pressure and expectation to these already overwhelmed, burnt out mother‘s? Well, because IT’S TIME TO HUSTLE! IF YOU AREN’T CONSISTENTLY POSTING TWICE A DAY, YOU WILL NEVER REACH 10,000 FOLLOWERS. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THESE OPPORTUNITIES OR SOMEONE ELSE WILL! DON’T YOU WANT TO BE YOUR OWN BOSS? THERE WILL NEVER BE A TIME LIKE THIS AGAIN! GROW YOUR ACCOUNT WITH ME! FOLLOW FOR MORE TIPS!!
Oh - and by the way, nothing is cool anymore. Nothing is impressive. Sorry. Your boyfriend rented out the entire city of Paris to propose on top of the Eiffel Tower? I heard it was staged for views. Skydiving naked in New Zealand with Justin Bieber? Yawn. Sounds like a David Dobrik vlog. Oh shit — You discovered the cure to cancer?!! Too bad you tweeted that fat joke in 2009.
Social media used to be a place to document and share your happiest moments, your biggest days. But now, if you submit yourself to the algorithms of TikTok, the beautiful viral video of you reacting to your positive pregnancy test will quickly be analyzed by the masses. Strangers around the country will come to the conclusion, that you are unfit to be a mother, due to the pile of towels in the corner of your video. “If she can’t do the simple task of laundry, surely, she should not be trusted with human life“
Welcome to the internet, kid. As our fearless leader Olivia Rodrigo tells us, it’s brutal out here.
We have created this society that moves through trends at lightning speed. In the blink of an eye, it happens. Like there’s a committee of D’Amelio sisters sitting at a conference table, controlling the “trend” switch, on or off.
And if you miss the memo, a provoked mob of teenagers will be flood your page with comments like “this trend is so old lmao”
Ouch!! Ego crush IS so severe!
But at the end of the day, that’s the name of the game and we’re all playing it.
okay maybe it’s just me.
But it started to feel like it was a game I was never going to win.
So at the beginning of the year, I devised a plan.
A plan to beat the game.
I’ve had a platform on the internet, for a few years now. I had turned it into a hobby, into my life, really. Those lines were blurred. But I finally decided to take control of this thing. This “opportunity.” I was going to take it seriously.
I was excited. Motivated.
But then, right before I set my plan into action...it was like my tires screeched to a halt on the runaway.
What was all this for?
For the first time, I simply thought to myself,
Why, the hustle? Why am I in such a hurry? Where am I even going? Why do I feel the need to keep up? With trends, with music, with fashion, with the Kardashians! With anything really? What was the point?
Do I really need to fit in? Do I really need to be accepted by cool fashion girls with dark, moody Instagram aesthetics? Do I really care if they think I’m cool? Do I even want followers?
Who am I trying to prove myself to?
It hit me that I was already burnt out before I even took off.
I’m just tired.
I’m tired of hustle culture.
I’m tired of monetizing every thing I love.
I’m tired of the word “monetize.”
I’m tired of the perfect white kitchens.
I’m tired of every parent on tiktok competing over who loves their baby the most.
I’m tired of beauty guru beef.
I’m tired of ads.
I’m tired of tiktok picking teenage girls to make famous and then cancelling them two months later.
I’m tired of defending my character to people determined to misunderstand me.
I’m tired of perfectly planned Instagram feeds.
I’m tired of perfectly planned photo dumps.
I’m tired of the ever changing algorithms.
I’m tired of trying to figure out what’s cool.
I’m tired of even caring what’s cool anymore.
Instagram came out in 2021, announcing that they are transitioning from being a photo app, to a video app. Moving forward, they will be highlighting and pushing video content, specifically reels.
I felt instant exhaustion. Another curveball. Time to adjust the plan. Is this our life’s now? Adjusting to whatever app or algorithm is most current and trending?
Putting hours of time and emotion into building a community on one platform, only to start over and move onto the next?
Do we just keep “keeping up” forever?
I love meeting people who follow me. I love when that online connection, carries into the real world.
But I have a really special spot in my heart for my blog readers.
Two weeks ago, I was in town doing some late night shopping errands. I was in line to pay and someone came and tapped my shoulder.
I turned around to see a girl, who looked around my same age, standing in front of me with a big smile on her face.
“Hi, I have read all your blog posts.” She said, shaking. I couldn’t figure out why she was emotional, but she continued to tell me that my blog posts about heartbreak (Things I Learned In 2020 & Nothing Gold Can Stay) inspired her to not let heartbreak stop her from choosing to love again. Woah. She told me she was into writing herself, and she connected to me in that way. I couldn’t believe it.
“I even find myself taking screenshots of your posts and quoting you when I talk about stuff with friends.” She said after 10 million hugs were exchanged.
That is the point.
That is what this is all for. That is the connection I crave from the online world, and the real life one.
And this story reminded me where that connection was born.
And I mean, I love a fit pic as much as the next guy but I’ve never had anyone tell me my birthday dress changed their life.
This is the stuff that matters to me. The stories. The readers of the stories. The memories. The documentation of LIFE! The conversations in the line, years later.
The truth is...I love the internet, okay? I could never hate you baby!!
But I desperately need something new. I need more connection. I need more life.
And I want the part I play on the internet, to enhance those things for me.
All of this, I guess, is to say...I’m back. Like, for good. I’m moving back home! Metaphorically speaking, of course.
And it feels good. Because here, I don’t need to prove myself when here there’s people who already see me. This content on my blog, is for future me, and the people who want to follow along until I meet her.
It’s my documentation of life.
I‘ve been preparing for this shift in effort & mindset for awhile now. I’ve been writing all summer. I got off social media, cleared my head, straightened out my list of priorities and for the first time in a long time...I have a lot to say.
Will I ever learn to make a long story, short?
Anyway, I’m happy about it. It feels right. It feels like I can take a breath. It feels like I can set some heavy expectations down. It feels like I’m finally in control.
And you know what?
It kinda feels like I beat the game.
It’s good to be back.