a portrait of myself by social media.

The internet has a way of telling you a lot about your life. Or perhaps I should be more specific and say that lately it has been telling me a lot about my life. It seems that every form of social media has a system to show you what you seem to want most – Facebook ads, anyone? According to them all I want is to lose weight, drink beer, learn more, and buy clothes. As if. Lately I have noticed that my trusty Firefox (I am still using this, am I supposed to be using Chrome now? It took me until maybe last year to switch to Firefox so I just don’t understand these different internet formats or whatever they are called) is also keen on telling me what I frequent most: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Plenty of Fish.

Well then, why don’t you just wrap me up in a big red bow with a tag that says “Socialite of the Year!” on it?

Considering I haven’t touched Plenty of Fish in six months it makes me wonder how often I did use it before meeting Sam. Was our relationship the product of a simple internet-charged serendipitous message-swap, as I thought? Or was it really just the result of many late-night perusals of lackluster, hope-crushing profiles fueled by a bottle of wine that just helped me find him faster? Probably a little of both, I’d say, but I honestly don’t remember using it that much except for that period of time when I started a Word document (do people still use Word?) filled with the entertaining yet confusing, bizarre yet interesting, ridiculous yet unintentionally amazing messages and profiles I came across. Perhaps that added to the number of times I used the site.

I am going to backtrack now to one of my frequented sites: Pinterest. I still frequent it. I have the app (I know how to get those now, too!). I have boards that I pin things to. I’m pretty skilled at it, I must say. But now Pinterest has joined in on the “tell me more about myself” social media trend that I never asked for and it allows me to explore my interests. I suppose they gather these from things you have searched, pinned, and liked in the past.

Mine include seven different forms of the term “pixie hair cut” including long pixie, pixie with bangs, short pixie, Anne Hathaway pixie, and the very general “short hair”. I suppose I have spent a lot of time perusing the various ways one can cut their hair into a pixie, but seven different forms on one page of interests? That is ludicrous – I only have one head.

While that still is a particularly easy one to find the source of, there are other much more puzzling ones such as “goat cheese quiche”. I do not remember a particular time I looked for this or spent enough time to qualify it as an interest. I have a quiche recipe from school and I think I have the necessary brain power to figure out that if I just add goat cheese to said recipe, I would make a goat cheese quiche.

I like quiche though, so I will give them that. What I find a hard time giving Pinterest is bubble wrap, necklace holders, and muesli.

Bubble wrap? Bubble wrap?! I enjoy popping the bubbles as much as the next human being but when in the hell would I ever qualify it as an interest? Next time I go to a job interview and they ask me to tell them about myself will I say, “Well, I graduated from the baking and pastry arts program and am also highly interested in bubble wrap”? No. No, I will not.

I also have a neck which in my world constitutes a necklace holder. I don’t think I need to find another one.

And muesli. Am I interested in muesli? Well, I am not sure: am I a squirrel? There is your answer.

As both amusing and hilarious as this all has been to me, to discover things about myself thanks to my frequent internet website perusals, it does show me something that I think we all know already: the internet just cannot tell you everything about yourself or anyone else. It thinks it can, clearly, but it can’t. Imagine if I just listed my Pinterest-created interests on my Plenty of Fish profile? Sam probably wouldn’t be around today. He doesn’t even like goat cheese.

And if at the next baby shower or similar soiree I attend someone I do not know approaches me and asks me what I do for fun, am I going to say, “I research muesli, chia seeds, and Mandy Moore?”

I think this entire thing is highly interesting, to be honest. I wonder who else has seen these interests listed for them and if they can actually relate to even ninety percent of them. Or are we all just becoming a person that has been perfectly packaged by the internet’s coding (is that what makes this happen?) into simple, easy to follow boxes. It almost makes me want to create a composite character sketch of the girl that the internet thinks I am. She sounds like a loon, even more than the real me already is.

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