Social Media: The Wild Frenemy

Social media is wild, absolutely wild. It’s a force of nature that we treat as the annoying storm that never passes, but really, it’s a waking tsunami filled with inspiration, motivation, and community. It’s indubitably the ceaseless war between left and right, positivity and negativity; it’s your side, my side, yet is it ever the truth? Social media has the power to grow the smallest of feats and the ability to take down even the strongest of foundations.

Social media is everyone’s frenemy.

It’s that person you keep close to you out of fear of what will happen when out of sight, it’s the person that sometimes when you let your guard down with them you find they’re actually not that bad, but it’s also the person that you do let your guard down with… and it’s exactly what you expected: your words get twisted and shared, your meaning lost, and your venting rant falls into the ears of a snake, it’s now something that can never be erased… the way others view you now tainted.

I grew up in a weird transitioning stage of technology. My first phone was a Cingular flip phone, with no camera, I had a trove of VHS tapes, portable DVD players were the shit, and I got a Facebook when I was in sixth grade (2006) then a Myspace the following year – oh, was my mom mad about the socials.

In these early years of social media and multimedia messaging, parents and teachers alike were quick to preach to us all, “What you post and what you text lives on the internet forever, be careful!” As we grew up, ‘be careful’s morphed into, “Your job looks at your social media as much as they look at your resume, think about your future!”

So, I’ll say it again – social media is wild.

It has single-handedly fired up civil rights movements, kept these movements relevant, and it’s created community. Everyone can find a community on social media, they can learn about causes they never even knew to care about, they can find an account to follow with the right inspiration they’ve been looking for. Across the board between Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, the limit does not exist with how you can shape, reshape, and reshape again, what your feed and what your personal brand looks like.

If you feel your socials are one note, or too political, or too this, or too that… change up your algorithm.

Go through the accounts you follow, the people you’re friends with, and follow/unfollow – get things off your feed that don’t bring you happiness, advance your knowledge, or aid in personal growth.

Instagram was an easy cleanse – I unfollowed a lot of the random meme accounts and celebrities and then asked myself what I wanted to see, what I needed to see, during moments throughout the day when I take my IG scroll breaks. Do I want to see what food people are eating? Or how about the same dumb meme with knock-knock-joke level humor shared one million times across like 10 accounts? Heck, no! I wanted some finer scrolling content, thank you.

I wanted quality, inspirational, powerful content. After each scroll break, I wanted to feel rejuvenated and ready to take back on the world. I wanted girl power content, I wanted spiritual content, astrology out the ass content… I followed accounts like The Female Hustlers, Black Female Therapists, Oh That Witch Again, and Taurus Scopez.

With Facebook, I felt a bit more conflicted on how to cleanse as I’m not typically one to randomly delete people – which is the standard way to cleanse these days. I generally feel that deleting people isn’t really erasing the problem, and I also think it’s important to try to put yourself in other’s shoes whenever possible. So by not deleting people, I get to do this, attempt to somehow see the world through their eyes – what they come across on their timeline, decidedly resonate with, and then go as far as to share onto their own platform… it says a lot about them. What one shares on social media is very telling about how they are as a person.

FYI this is me lowkey admitting that I psychoanalyze what most everyone posts 😉

Ultimately, my Facebook solution was to actively go through and make sure I was following, like actively going to profiles and hitting the follow button, those friends who have a good rep in terms of posting a wide range of content. My second solution was to find private groups to join. My top favorite groups that keep my Facebook feed filled with Grade A quality content are The Solo Female Traveler Network and Road to 100 Countries. Both pages keep my feed adequately filled with people’s personal travel stories, their tips, and overall inspo to get out, travel, face any fears and knock down any barriers.

So as wild as social media is, I think we must face that it’s something you can’t really ignore or pretend doesn’t matter in this day and age. You just can’t. So, take this frenemy by the horns and own it – make it what you want, because while you can’t ignore it, you can certainly tell it what to do.

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Side note – with a post about social media I feel I should throw in that I hope you’re following PKC on Instagram & Facebook 🙂

Emily’s Roommate Guide

In all my 25 years of life, I’ve never had my own apartment (excluding my brief semester abroad, but let’s be real I was hardly in that little dorm.) I’ve always had one or multiple roommates; and there’s not one place I’ve lived where I don’t have a crazy story to share – both good crazy and bad crazy. Just to name a few, I’ve had roommates hide under the bed for days at a time, I’ve had roommates accuse the entire apartment of tackling their 5-gallon jar of pickles (gag), I’ve had roommates with no sense of pride in the space we both call home, and I’ve had roommates where we don’t even remotely speak the same language.

Each and every one of my living situations could not only have their own blog post, but I could write a whole series of books, accurately titled: “Emily’s Series of Unfortunate Roommates:The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

But this post isn’t a tell-all on past roommates – sorry to disappoint you, you gossip ready scoundrels. Instead, I’m roaming the higher ground here. I’ve decided to share what I’ve learned through these good and bad situations, and most importantly: questions you should ask yourself when in the market for roommate.

Blanket Question: What is important to you?

This may seem like an obvious question, but clearly not since at 25 – 7 years into the roommate game – I’ve only just learned how to properly answer this when on a roommate search. Let’s breakdown what could be important to you, you just don’t realize it yet:

  • Which spaces always have to be tidy or you’ll have an aneurysm?
    • Even if you think you’re pretty chill, not too much of a neat freak, I’m sure there’s actually one or two things that get under your skin. For me, I’ve realized I need the toilet to always be pearly white, uncluttered kitchen counters, and absolutely nothing permanently (or even semi-permanently) planted on the stove – excluding a kettle – I also cannot cope with dishes overflowing the sink for more than like 3-4 days. So if you get roped in with someone who ends up being more on the messy side, voice the spaces that matter most to you.
  • How do you feel about entertaining guests?
    • Granted, in Covid-Culture, this question is answered way differently now then it would be if all was right in the world – or for some of you, maybe not! Either way, it’s important to sort if you’re content with guests frequently coming and going, staying for short or long periods of time. Especially if you live in a major city, it’s common for friends and family to want to come visit often and for longer than just a weekend. So figure out how you feel about this, if you’re content with strangers coming and going – potentially running up utility bills during their stay 😉
  • Speaking of utility bills, how do you feel if it seems your roommate may be causing spikes in bills?
    • If I’m being honest, I never even realized that this was a thing until very recently. In my books, you’re in a contract with your roommates to go half on everything. If there’s a spike in the bill, it sucks but that’s just it – it sucks. Even if the other person may have caused it, you couldn’t possibly confirm that, so you have to buck up and pay your half and everyone aim together to be more conscientious for the next bill cycle. Trying to pin a spike in a bill on someone is a slippery slope, because what about the months you had several guests staying for a week or two at a time? Or how about there’s a month where you’re using the washer and dryer more? Do you see what I’m getting at? It opens a door that you probably don’t want to open. But either way… if this is your little psycho tick… sort it out now before trying to screw someone over. Have fun with that future conversation! Side note, if you don’t bring this up and try to con a roommate into paying more of a bill – shame on you.
  • Your sleep schedule?
    • Most of the time, you know if this is important to you – so voice it! Make it known that you’re a night owl, or make it known you go to bed at 8, grandma 😉

Blanket Question: What are you looking for in a roommate?

This is not just finding a cool person to live with, nor the same as simply finding a friend. While the above questions definitely facilitate sorting this question out, below is a breakdown of how to sort out the type of person you’re looking for:

  • Do you want someone with the same daily schedule as you?
    • Having the same schedule as someone is great, in theory. It opens doors to be able to hang out together after work and sleep schedules should be fairly similar. But also, it means they are always home the same time you are. For me, I’m not into that. I need alone time, I need the space to myself, and I hate fighting over the freaking bathroom. I’ve realized my ideal roommate’s schedule is someone who wakes up at the ass-crack of dawn and leaves the apartment before I wake up. Then I get to have a quiet morning to myself and get in the right head space for the day.
  • Are you looking to become best friends with your roommate?
    • This is fine! Moving to a new city and seeking to befriend whoever you live with is a smart way to get established and such an easy way to make friends. So think about what characteristics you like in a friend, but also think about how that translates into a roommate. Party people are fun, but do you want a party apartment? Bubbly, outgoing people are great, but are you someone who needs alone time to recharge? Just make sure you understand what you’re getting into!
  • What’s the ideal vibe?
    • It’s super important to me that my apartment is cozy, decorated, and smells heavenly with candles frequently lit. Maybe you’re wondering why this didn’t go in the first blanket question, but this is totally a personality thing. I’ve had roommates who just emit comfort from their very being and it translates into the apartment setup, I also have had roommates who see the apartment as just the place they sleep and aren’t into the whole decorating thing, or they have a minimalist vibe and aren’t into knickknacks and decorations. So while it’s important to understand your vibe, it’s equally important to sort out your roommates vibe – then you can create a conducive atmosphere that makes your space more than just an apartment, it makes it a home.

Blanket Statement: Know your boundaries.

If you understand what your boundaries are, what you are comfortable with and what you’re not, the roommate search will be more fruitful. If you’re not that clean, there’s no point in lying about it just to get the dream apartment with someone. If you need alone time, voice that and most people will respect it.

One thing I casually began doing to better understand what gets under my skin, is starting a “When People…” note on my iPhone. Whenever someone does something that rubs me the wrong way, even slightly, I write it down – just the action, not the person’s name, this isn’t a list of grudges! It has things like “When people interrupt others when they’re speaking,” which equates to the fact that basic manners are incredibly important to me, and another one is “When people flake on responsibilities,” and that one I don’t think I need to explain 😉

Creating a simple list of pet peeves is a great way to understand not only what you don’t like, but also what you do. Ultimately, it’s important to know yourself in order to know what you need from others so that you can flourish.

DISCLAIMER: While I hope this guide helps you, I think shit roommates are major character building experiences 😉

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PS: the featured photo is that of me and one of my best friends that’s survived many roommate horrors with me ❤