Social media brought me better jobs, close friends and love. But I was ignoring the ways in which the constant criticism and approval were shaping my life
In March 2009, I type in “twitter.com” and sign up for the next 12 years of my life. I am 20, in my first year of uni. I have three friends and hate it here. But, on Twitter, I can talk to real music journalists, my longed-for future people. Two years later, I move to London to work at NME. My social awkwardness makes life in a new city feel like dredging the Thames with baggy tights. On Twitter, however, I have blossomed into a magnificent little chaos magnet. Even on sad, drunk Friday nights in, my phone-sized kingdom glitters.
Real life improved, often thanks to Twitter. It led me to John, still my boyfriend 10 years on, and many of my closest friends. Thanks to being a woman in a male-dominated field, the odd viral review and little talent for discretion, I ended up with 60,000 followers. I didn’t take it that seriously, but acing my first popularity contest felt like winning Miss World, if she had bad posture and trigger-happy thumbs. Visibility brought better jobs and gave me a platform to retaliate against music’s many dirtbags. The mute button silenced reply guys and trolls, and I hadn’t searched my name in years, ever since John likened that always-upsetting habit to self-harm – an overstatement that nevertheless rang true.