2017 was probably the most consequential year of my life. It was the year which had several changes. One of the changes was my idol Filthy Frank leaving YouTube to focus on his music career. Pewdiepie’s Cold War with the Wall Street Journal has made YouTube started its demonetization policies. Those policies saw YouTube’s slow transition from Creator’s content website to a corporate police state which is now a parody of what it once was. The landscape of the internet was also changing. Dark humor jokes that were once considered funny are now condemned. This change of landscape also brought the worst of cancel-culture and political correctness, thanks to the rising internet censorship. The Paul brothers’ shenanigans were becoming popular on the internet (especially the Japan incident).
When Trump became US President in January 2017, I felt like everything just became a political dumpster fire. I saw celebrities becoming political in their award shows or someone just skewing out toxic heaps of radiation on Twitter. Those are just a few examples of changing times.
On a personal level, It was the year when I started to have a transitional period from an edgy meme lord to a college student within four months. In all honesty, it was a departure from my past self. That happened in April 2017, why I was giving my last board exam test. It was psychology, and I got 20 days of preparation break. So I had a lot of time finishing my syllabus, and I finished it within 7–10 days. It also took me a day and two to mop up the important question our teacher gave us. So basically, I had a lot of free time in my hands. Unfortunately, I used it for the wrong reasons.
I’ve already talked about my edgy behavior in general and how it eventually became a liability. Long story short, my memes became regressive, and I was hostile to a critique or an opinion. I’ve been hurting people’s feelings in the name of being edgy. I was just mocking them for their different tastes and lifestyles.
When I started investing myself in Google+ in 2015, I joined a group of haters who were genuinely rebelling against mainstream society. Our sole purpose was to piss off people, raid their communities and become famous online. By mid-2016, we were at the peak of our popularity. You see, Google+ had this viewers system where you can see how many people saw your post. So my memes get 5k-10k views per post. And obviously, we get to see people getting salty in the comment section. At the peak, I had four Google plus accounts and a million views combined. I also had hundreds if not thousands of followers, which made me very cocky.
Things started to change by the end of 2016 when I started becoming political. Especially in the aftermath of the 2016 US Elections, the internet was a cesspool. I jumped the gun and started making political statements about an election that has nothing to do with me. By the time 2017 began, I started to shift my political ideologies like clothes. I was still making memes, but I was also busy with my Pre-Boards and two psychology re-tests. So I didn’t make memes that much.
It was during that time I realized that my school life was almost over. It was only a matter of time. The School Farewell was done, and the Boards were near too. And the dumbest decision I made was to imitate my Google+ behavior on Facebook. It’s one thing to make jokes on Google+ where not a lot of people you know use it. It’s completely a different matter when you’re doing that on Facebook. It’s where friends and family will be watching your internet behavior. When I started making jokes about Indian political parties and feminists, that’s when things took a downtown.
My family, my mentor, and some of my friends noticed it. One night I got a great scolding from my sister because things were getting out of hand. It was a good scolding because I was misusing my free time (and my free speech) over clout. Those are things that could ruin your dignity. And my political jokes could get me mauled online and real-life by either side of the political parties.
After putting in a lot of thought, I’ve realized what I was doing wasn’t rebellion. I was just being an a-hole. When I took a good look at my Google+ accounts, I’ve understood that I became a bully myself for the aforementioned reason. It was ironic because I was bullied in school. This happened in April 2017. And I have one more paper to deal with. And I had to worry about college or if I ever want to go overseas. At this point, I’ve realized my behavior could become a potential obstacle in the future.
Other than the personal problems my edgy behavior could pose, my general interest in Google+ was dying too. My memes were becoming staler and cliched. They were not getting past 1k views. Most of the online friends I knew have either left or they were posting less frequently. And I had to deal with constant arguments with idiotic teenagers on Hangouts (Google’s WhatsApp).
I did have second thoughts about this though. It was the only identity I had for the past two years. Leaving that would mean back to square one. But I also knew, it was not worth ruining my life over some likes on Facebook or Google+.
So I’ve decided to delete all the edgy and political posts on Facebook immediately. I also decided to delete my Google+ accounts once the Boards were over. Google+ was eventually shut down in April 2019.
Speaking of Boards, I was feeling sad that the last two years of my school life were almost over. Even though I had five terrible years but, my 11th and 12th were mostly bittersweet. I did enjoy those two years. Anyway, when I gave my psychology test, I had this strange feeling. I mean, three hours ago (the day of the test), I was a high schooler. After 3 hours, I became an alumni. The amount of effort I put into my college studies is not tantamount to the effort I put into the boards. Because I’ve studied for 3 months thanks to the pre-Boards and those 2 re-tests. It did pay off when I got 80% in class 12th.
Once the boards were over and I left my edgy behavior, I focused on my college. Uhh… All I did was playing Metal Gear Solid V on my PS4. The only test I gave was CLAT, and I didn’t even get admission to any NLU. We tried the NRI Sponsorship method, but that failed too. So I eventually ended up in Amity Noida. I tried to make a return to Google+ to post my drawings, but then I realized, there was nothing for me there. The internet can transform a person from rags to riches to obscurity. Lil Tay is an example of that. It became apparent that the popularity that I once had in 2015 and 2016 was only temporary. I became an anonymous person again. So I left the site for good.
In July 2017, when I returned home from my college interview in Noida, I got this game from my aunt from the US. It’s called “The Last of Us.” (Check the Hyperlink to Know more). The story was about the journey of Joel and Ellie across the post-apocalyptic United States. The story was pretty good, and the characters were well written. But the fascinating thing about this game was it gave me a sense of nostalgia. Every time I play this game, it gives me a reminiscence of the waning days of my school. Sometimes it also reminds my edgy behavior. It’s like reading a previous chapter in a book. But it can only be read, we can’t re-experience it ever again. It’s also weird because 20 days after the interview, the college accepted my admission. It was also the same day I was drawing Ellie from the Last of Us. After that, I started living my college life.
And that’s about it. 2017 was the most consequential year of my life. It created an impact that changed my life in the bigger picture since I left Maths in 2015.
The reason I’m writing about this was that I’m having a deja-vu right now. My college will end in just a few months, and I’m thinking about my school more often. To think that my college life would end so quickly and at my home because of the pandemic makes me sad. I only get to enjoy my college life for almost 3 years out of 5. It was 2 months before the end of my third year, that the whole Covid-19 debacle began. This is why I felt like clearing my mind by typing this story. I remain an optimist because I hope that things go back to normal once this ends. And then there’s the future. I don’t know what it will hold, but I do hope things go in my favor.
In times like this, it reminds me of my time in school and college, no matter how good or bad it is. 2017 was among one of those good and bad times that I remember the most. Maybe some other day, I’ll write about 2015, another consequential year. It was the year when I took arts in class 11th and how things were much different post maths. I’ll also talk about the early days of my Google+ days. But that’s for another day.