I'm the internet star who never was
Does technology make our lives better?
Isn't the internet great? It's shaped the way I live my life, since its first impact on me as a teen - with chat rooms, Napster and Hotmail.
It opened up the world to me; an isolated, small town girl from rural New Zealand.
The possibilities of this digital revolution grew along with my interest, and hours of my life started to drip away as I became increasingly involved in all it had to offer.
Being online was a priority, so I could communicate with my friends. Boredom was quickly brushed aside as I engaged in conversation with strangers around the globe. Endless downloadable games were at my fingertips. Any information I could want, or need was available to me with a click of a button.
I hadn't had much of a chance to experience life without it, but it was a gargantuan shift. Everything had changed.
Now, I consider myself lucky. There was no such thing as Facebook when I was in high school - cyber bullying was only a twinkle in the troll's eye, and sending nude selfies was logistically impossible.
But, I could only delay the inevitable impact. As I hit my early 20s, the internet hit me.
Fresh off the boat, I was picked up to work at a web startup in London. I was in above my eyes, and the shallow nature of my involvement with the internet up until that point soon became clear.
I was thrust into a world of cookies, search optimisation and social media, and I had to learn fast. Within months, the previously invisible Hannah Keys was plastered over Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Blogger and YouTube.
The people around me encouraged it - while those outside the industry blanked out at the mention of retweets and my most popular posts.
I felt my personality and priorities changing dramatically. I couldn't leave the house without broadcasting an image of my face to the world through Dailybooth, I checked my YouTube channel hourly for updated viewership figures...I even started thinking in tweet-sized paragraphs.
I was competitive. Jealous. Egotistical. Self-involved. Condescending.
I was obsessed with crafting this digital version of myself, and convinced that I was worth the world's attention - bitterly picking apart those who had already reached internet fame.
Why not me? I am good enough. These random international strangers, they should love me. I wanted them to, desperately.
When I first started dating my now fiancé, he seemed wary of my self-promoting ways.
He didn't get why I tweeted my thoughts and feelings out into the world. He couldn't quite understand why I would post pictures of myself on Instagram. The motivation behind my YouTube videos was a mystery.
His distaste for my online activities almost felt like an ultimatum.
At first, I was steadfast. But my fear at the prospect of losing my digital self was enough to make me question what exactly I was scared of.
What did it mean to me? Why did I need so badly to be online?
When I was a kid, I had a couple of dream jobs. First of all, I wanted to be on TV. I needed to be on a show - not as an actress - as a presenter.
The second, no less important option, was a writer. I loved to read and write, and I knew that one day, I could write a book.
When I arrived on the internet, it seemed like everything I dreamed of and more was possible, on a scale I could never have imagined.
I had a new career path, heading down the fast lane to world famous blogger/online video star. I had the talent, the personality, and now I had the platform. Perfect.
Everything I have done online over the past few years has been in the pursuit of that dream. At least, it started out that way.
As I chased the interest and validation of the internet, I lost myself. Maybe the potential was there. Perhaps I was once on the cusp of something worth telling the grandkids about.
But, after several years chasing our generation's dream, I'm giving up.
I was never cut out for this game - a fact that has only become clear to me after years of stops and starts, changes of direction, failed ideas and frustration.
As much as I've tried to convince myself otherwise, I don't have enough self-belief. I'm not tough enough. I care too much about what other people think of me. I'm a procrastinator.
I can't take the mean comments on YouTube. I can't handle seeing others succeed. It crushes my motivation, and fills me with bitterness.
I don't know if I can be OK with people not liking me.
Checking my blog stats. The absence of new Twitter followers. Dismal views on my YouTube videos. It gets to me, after all these years of chasing that dream.
It feels like failure.
I don't know if it should, but for me, it does. The girl who thought she could be a writer, or a TV presenter, I guess she's disappointed in herself.
Maybe if I'd spent my time studying journalism. Maybe if I'd done an internship with a magazine. Maybe if I'd knocked on some doors, used my contacts to get into TV.
Instead, I spent a thousand hours jumping up and down, doing anything, trying to get 6 billion people to notice me.
Maybe technology doesn't always mean progress.
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