Monday, 28 October 2013

on @Horse_ebooks

Finding out that @Horse_ebooks was a fake spam account hit me like a two-ton truck. It was like finding out that Santa wasn't real all over again. When I was first told, there was lots of anguished shouting of the word "what?" and upset texts. Apparently I'd come to the discovery a month after everyone else, having been without my laptop as incompetent repairs were taking place. My friend Sile and I were having a minor mental breakdown about the whole thing, and all those around us were mildly confused and concerned.

I tried to pinpoint why exactly I was so upset about the whole thing. I am one of those people of our generation who grew up on the internet. During my awkward adolescent phase, I made friends on message boards and Googled my problems. The internet didn't judge you and you were invited to everything, unlike in real life. When I started to make real friends at the age of thirteen or fourteen, they were all people more comfortable sitting behind a keyboard, and we spent hours on MSN, occasionally leaving our respective houses to see each other in real life. 

At some point, I moved on from being that person without even realising it. All of a sudden there were parties and boyfriends and taking selfies in bathrooms. My relationship with the internet  became one of validating my existence: how many likes can I get on my profile photo? And thus I became someone who watched Youtube tutorials on how to apply liquid eyeliner and put serious thought into my Instagram filters. The more I was concerned with how I appeared in real life, the more important it was to document the life I wanted people to believe I had online. 

When things got rough for me, the internet was a blessing and a curse. There was the ability to peruse the lives of my former friends and find myself crying because I didn't understand why they had all decided to cut me out. I stared at the computer screen, refreshing to see what colleges everyone had added  to their timeline after the CAO offers came through, and wondered why my life wasn't working out. I Googled everything I got diagnosed with, and scrolled through pages of Calming Manatee to try and make myself feel better.

When things started to feel better, everything got chucked on my Instagram, Twitter, Facebook to prove to ex-boyfriends, former classmates, the world that my life was GREAT now.

And when things weren't so great, there were always nasty anonymous messages on Tumblr for me, ready to make my day.

And when I made one of my many decisions to start AFRESH, there were endless websites for inspiration.

The internet functions as an innate part of our lives. I've gotten internships by sending ballsy emails, won free lunches on Twitter and been able to interact with musicians and artists and people who inspire me in a way that I would never be able to do in real life. 

The reason we lived Horse was because it was a tiny snippet of magic. Seemingly random bits of nonsense were sometimes beautifully philosophical, and it seemed to prove that even in a world where we carefully curate our online presence, sometimes serendipitous things could still happen. It brought us all together as we retweeted and screenshot the best ones. We laughed because only Irish people would find "shift shift shift REJECT shift shift" as funny as we did.

So when we found out it was just performance art, we felt used. It was proof that anything online can be a lie, and that we'd all been taken for fools.

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