(NOV 28, 2023)

Short answer: A real fucking difference.

Long answer: I can’t describe in only a few words how much of a huge decision this was, especially being that it was my former way of connecting with majority of internet users via conventional platforms such as Instagram, but it was one I decided to stick with and accepted the pros and cons. The effects of it still echoes incredibly but I’ve slowly gotten used to majority of my needed adaptations since shifting to neocities.

For once as a positive, I certainly no longer feel addicted to the intense rush I had to check my social media often just in hopes of receiving a validation through a comment, a like or a follow. Especially through around 2021-2022 of Instagram (my last former presence in a social media). While I knew the virtual messages of someone being intrigued or interested to see my content should be appreciated as just a minor gesture, I was clouded over the thought of wanting to be the next “growing” internet artist willing to do anything to increase my numbers and only knowing I was “worth” anything through said cues. It was a horrible measurement to define my self esteem and worth, but it’s really notable now in retrospect with how often I would spend multiple times to open the app within a minute alone to see if someone interacted with my account.

Along with this, I was starting to see less of my and others’ posts appearing in people’s feeds in exchange for Facebook (or Metamorphosis as they call themselves now) promoting ads and trending/possible content I “could” enjoy. The pervasiveness of this format left a bitter taste in my mouth which was the ultimate last blow to my hopes of being in this virtual environment.

As a trade off, the power to heal me from a digital addiction also unfortunately cut my ties with everyone I’ve known and only had the ways to communicate through these places. I did the conservative measure to offer anyone alternative forms of communication (discord, phone number, etc.) but I was surprised to know that only 2 people out of the tens of active users I chatted with was willing to stay in connection. When I say this, I don’t want to paint anyone in a bad light as I could understand reasons why they would’ve rejected my offers (privacy in case they didn’t wanted to trade their phone numbers over the internet, or didn’t use any other accounts on alternative communication apps apart from the primary social media). It made me realize in a double-edged sword sort of way how fucked but understandable it was that everyone in my generation and in similar age groups have conserved their form of social communication through these places. You’re not sharing phone numbers, so you have some privacy to very personal contacts, but still have a way to send someone a call or a message through features such as direct messaging or video calls in these apps. Humans have been more and more dependent on the digital internet for various things (shopping, research, creating content), so socializing through this format would be a natural thing to implement. My acceptance of these conditions made in this contemporary age left me not as a genius that left some sort of digital matrix to find my own cultural appropriated definition of a spiritual liberation, but just more lonely due to trying all my best to still be in contact with people I often communicated with, to no avail. I naturally already feel more sensitive to the feeling of loneliness thanks to depression, having had episodes just believing this is how I’ll always live, and is something I am honestly still trying to come to terms with since I’ve done this change. I don’t have anyone else in my life apart from 1-2 people I rarely hang out in person a month, and anyone else I’ll attempt to befriend to accommodate for this loss are all on the internet in which I cannot fortunately ask to hang out with whether that’s due to their privacy or being within a far distant from these users.

If I wanted to say something in order to wrap all of this up, I will say that I don’t regret my decision. I can stay here writing endless vents about how life isn’t the same since the change, but I am capable of learning how to adapt. While it wasn’t easy at first, I decided to fill up my time and energy to working on myself, redirecting my focus on what I truly wanted instead of likes and followers, and looked for alternative ways to publicize my never ending interest of personal content (that being art). While I wasn’t full on into the idea at first, it was thanks to Neocities that I felt I had a sense of “middle-ground” between what I was idealizing and what I could realistically do to adapt from my social media departure. Honestly if you wanted a reason why I wasn’t fully onboard at first with Neocities, it was because I didn’t know a single thing at first how to code html or css. But slowly overtime with more and more practice, I was able to get the hang of it and feel myself finally create my own “pseudo” social-media platform in which I can post content and have people see me somewhere on the internet to marvel or indulge in my content! :) Life isn’t the same, but I am not letting that hinder the many ways I can still enjoy this alternative lifestyle.