I wrote this post a while ago, and I’ve gotten a little more comfortable with modern technology since then. Still, I wonder.
Isn’t everyone? I think it’s mandatory.
I am but only after years of holding out and enduring much ridicule. When I finally opened my FB account a few years ago, I did so with an open mind but a heavy heart. I feared what was to become of me. Or more accurately, my privacy.
Luckily, I grew up in the pre-Facebook era so there were no incriminating photos of me online save the 1990’s prom photo posted by an old high school classmate I hadn’t spoken to in about 18 years. That was criminal enough. But it got worse.
A friend tagged me in the photo. This required swift and immediate action. I compelled the guilty parties to remove the tag post haste, eliminating any identifying links from my current self to my pre-Twenty First Century self.
Today I would never wear bullet-proof, high hair or puffy, iridescent sleeves. I wouldn’t have my current image tarnished by poor judgment and 90’s fashion. We all make mistakes. We shouldn’t forever be reminded of them, and I simply couldn’t tolerate that kind of smut floating around for public consumption (and with my name on it). Thankfully, that girl in the dim back corner of the tattered photo could be any high-haired, puffy-sleeve-wearing teenage girl from the 90′s.
But all that was before 2003, before FB became a part of daily life, as common to some as breathing. It was before the FB generation, who think nothing of documenting their every moment or posting every thought that rolls through their adolescent head. It was before congressional candidates realized they would one day want to become congressional candidates and the digital trail of their more immodest moments would surface.
Take Virginia’s democratic candidate for congress, Krystal Ball. Now, with a name like Krystal Ball she should have been able to see the photo depicting her and her former husband in S&M Santa and reindeer costumes mimicking a sex act spread across every media outlet. You don’t really need a name like Krystal Ball to know that.
But she’s not the only one. The New York Times just did a whole article about FB Skeletons. Still, embarrassing poses and old prom photos living in perpetuity appear to deter no one. People love them some Facebook. So the question then becomes what age is the right age? I’ve written my thoughts on Tweeting Toddlers already. Now it’s FB’s turn.
Yes, I have FB account, but I opened it in my thirties, long after I was sure I wouldn’t say anything stupid or post any reindeer pictures. Pretty sure, anyway. And I still don’t know if it was the right decision. Watching The Social Network this weekend didn’t help, either. It only confounded my already complicated relationship with FB. I’m on it, but I don’t know if I like it, and if I like it, I’m not sure I should like it. Truthfully, I just don’t get it.
My nieces and nephews apparently get it. They all have accounts. I know because they befriended me (and the word is befriend no matter what Facebook says), but I don’t know if I’m okay with that. Shouldn’t there be some sort of FB law prohibiting teenagers from connecting with their adult relatives who are certain to be shocked and uncomfortable with their teenage status updates?
I admit, though, that FB has some positive features. I’m glad I can stay connected to people I might have lost touch with otherwise, and I’m glad I can reconnect with long lost high school friends I would’ve had no way of contacting. I also think it would be a good way for my 9-year-old daughter to stay in touch her out-of-state cousins.
Although I haven’t opened an account for her yet, I know it’s coming. It’s just a matter of when.
This post originally appeared in BaristaKids.com.
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