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When you first split from a partner or have a row with a friend, what’s the first thing you do? It may be that you speed dial your BFFs for a night out. Maybe you eat your way out of the grief with Ben and Jerry, or perhaps you’re the oddball who actually finds solitude in exercise.
Or do you head straight to facebook to see how quickly they’ve moved on and found a replacement you? If you can admit to the latter, you’re probably a social cutter.
It’s no secret that Gen-Y are social media addicts. I’m probably more socially active than most, yet recently I’ve found myself going cold turkey on my personal accounts and only using my ‘professional’ profiles. Why? Because I’m a social cutter.
‘Social cutting’ is the latest form of self-abuse to hit GenY. For the uninitiated, it’s an online pursuit where we actively seek out ex-boyfriends, frenemies and those we envy, for the exact purpose of seeing something or someone that will make us feel bad. Whether it’s an image of an Ex plus one, or a targeted status from a girl you barely know, we don’t stumble across this social activity and wish we hadn’t. Us social cutters actively seek it out.
I first came to the realisation that I was a social cutter after falling out with a friend early last year. This particular friend was someone I had been very close to and I’d been ignoring the massive red, flashing warning signs that she was quite clearly, a manipulative bitch. When things finally peaked between us, an icy standoff ensued where social occasions were spent at opposite ends of the room and we turn-taken seeing mutual friends. Unfortunately, said ex-friend couldn’t extend our unspoken arrangement online. Before I knew it, every feed became saturated with passive-aggressive comments, photos and statuses which were all too clearly, aimed at me. At first I thought it funny, that someone too cowardly to come and talk about our issues in person, found it acceptable to make an assignation on my character from behind the safety of a Facebook profile.
As it continued, I wasn’t sure what was worse; what she wrote or the fact that I was constantly seeking her comments out. My social channels became an obsession, a place where I would head straight to her profile to see what the latest tirade was. Tears or anger would generally ensue followed by vows to ignore her, before falling off the wagon and finding myself back on her profile the very next day – sometimes within hours. All in all, the whole cycle made me feel like a pretty shitty person.
It was only when other friends threatened to disown me if I couldn’t stop going on about it that I eventually made the decision to delete or block her presence from every social channel I was on (there was a lot). Having not seen what came next, or even if the online campaign continues today, I can’t tell you what she thought of this. What no one probably would have guessed was that I didn’t do it to be petty, immature or stubborn: I did it to save myself from myself.
I never saw the appeal of cutting my wrists as a teenage, yet emotional self-harm I seem to have no problem with. I’ve often wondered if it comes from FOMO. That it’s better to know what’s being said about us then not. Or perhaps somewhere deep down, passive-aggressiveness gives us the small loophole where we can still reassure ourselves that it isn’t really about us. Maybe it’s even a form of narcissism; where our need to be noticed overrules the sentiment of the mention.
Social cutting is one of the worst by-products to come from our online addiction. From someone in remission, believe me when I say the only thing you will ever get from it, is low self-esteem and self-doubt. I’m not saying that a voice doesn’t whisper in my ear occasionally, telling me she still has an open profile. I’m just saying that I’ve finally managed to put down the knife.
Image via WeHeartIt
Beth is a Writer and Digital Marketer who founded The Full Agenda as a place to talk about the things that kept her and her friends up at night. Currently working as a Marketing consultant to various SMEs she is a big fan of the startup market and loves technology, apps and anything social media related. When not obsessively checking Google Analytics, she can be found reading, writing or relaxing with a glass of Prosecco.
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