Last night, I made applesauce while also streaming live on IG. A grand total of 29 people zipped in and out as Mary (whom I goaded into joining me) and I: practiced our Renegade, lamented our interrupting pets, and laughed at the rapidity with which our followers quickly joined and just as quickly left our livestream upon finding that there were never more than four people watching at any given time. Or maybe it was because after I got over the first thirty minutes of self-consciousness, I welcomed everyone by name?
A few hours earlier, I dueted Mary’s Renegade on TikTok. The day before, a Megan Thee Stallion song.
What are we doing?
A month ago, two weeks ago, I’d never have done these things. Under no circumstances would I have gone on Instagram Live without knowing there’d be a willing audience, and certainly never would I ever have learned a moderately risqué dance made viral by a teenager and then post it online for other people to see. But circumstances have changed, obviously, which has found my asking, also: who, excuse me, really fucking cares?
I bet you don’t. My brother’s old co-worker, who asked me practical questions in the live chat about whether I was drinking my wine out of an Ikea glass (I wasn’t) sure didn’t. My future mother-in-law certainly didn’t, after she appeared/disappeared mid-musicless-Renegade practice. This relatively small test sample leads me to believe the following: now is the time to lean into being an absolute idiot on the internet, to perhaps go 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fumanchu and share it to your TikTok feed, if you will.
We’re all trapped here *gestures vaguely around* on the internet for the time being, and if we’re all as thirsty for social interactions as the memes would have me believe, then it is perhaps beholden upon us to be the TikTok teen you want to see in the world and post an un-edited, 37-take rendition of a dance whose trendiness most certainly died out three weeks ago.
If we’re all living online right now, then the social currency to be derived from social media has long-since depleted in value, and if likes are worth nothing anymore, we might as well throw them in the trash and finally, finally be free.