thoughts on the internet

(Always fascinating, right?)

With all the blogging and Facebooking and Myspacing and Twittering etcetera that’s been going on for the last couple of years, some interesting questions about personal expression and freedom of speech and the sheer narcissism of assuming that the world wants to hear what you had for dinner come up. (Holy run-on sentence, Batman.) Everyone has to be careful about the information they post online; job-seekers have to monitor their Facebooks to make sure employers can’t find their Spring Break ’02 pictures; and if you’re a more prolific blogger, you have to worry about writing about topics that will continue to bring you readers. (Not the worst problem to have, I guess, but still.) We all have to walk a fine line between expressing ourselves and getting our identities stolen.

There’s also been some discussion about what my generation is going to be like in the workplace, having grown up with all this widespread technology. How are our expectations different? How do we interact with our older coworkers?

But I was just looking through some webcomics on a site I don’t regularly visit, and I found a link to the artist’s Flickr, full of pictures of her very adorable baby wearing leopard-print dresses and making pirate faces. It was super cute and seeing cute babies naturally makes me smile, but it made me wonder what will life be like for her generation. She’s going to grow up and discover that her baby pictures had been seen online by thousands of total strangers before she could even distinguish shapes. So much for the threat of having her parents bust out the naked-baby-in-the-tub pictures or the kindergarten-Halloween-costume pictures – chances are, he or his parents have already seen them.

We’ve probably all posted our own pictures online, but would you post public pictures of your kids? I know a few moms whose photos are hidden in friends-only Facebook profiles, which seems reasonable, but I personally can’t imagine putting up public photos. Where’s the line?

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2 thoughts on “thoughts on the internet

  1. A few things, since we recently discussed this in my comm class. Sorry because I’m probably gonna go on foreverrrr.

    Anecdote: apparently, as far as the baby thing, my TA knew someone who, having seen pictures of her friend’s baby online, never even bothered to contact the friend about the baby. Like, no congratulations, what’s her name, tell me about her, etc. She’d seen the baby and could follow its existence online, so what’s the point? This is one of the things that I think is great and wonderful about the internet, but also really awful. You can keep up with acquaintances or just people you’re curious about, but what does it to real/should-be-real relationships? I think sometimes people get lazy if they can find out everything they’d ever want to know about you on the internet.

    Other anecdote from class: I just thought this was interesting. My PLA knows a couple who, upon having a baby, immediately reserved his/her gmail account, because they didn’t want the baby to have to use underscores or numbers or anything. I find that both sweet and really creepy. Is it really that important? Maybe it’s becoming so?

    I was thinking of this a bit the other day when I was watching a video of a 4 year old girl dancing to “Single Ladies” by Beyonce in a leotard. Would I put a video like that up of MY child? Call me paranoid, but there are some sick people on the internet, and I don’t want to think some perv somewhere is getting off on seeing my little girl dancing. The internet is not really a great place to be putting up pictures of a child for everyone to see, because everyone might include some BAD people, too.

    To actually answer your question, I think if I’m still on a social networking site by the time I have a child (my boyfriend likes to think we won’t be on Facebook long enough to have to change to “married,” but we’ll see where Facebook culture goes), I’ll probably share some pictures of him/her, but not everything, and probably not make them public.

    • Those are interesting. It’s true about how being able to easily follow someone’s activities leaves you out of the loop – if you were to actually converse with them, what would you say? You wouldn’t need to ask what they were up to because you already knew.

      I didn’t even think about the creeper aspect. I just don’t want that many people to be able to see or know something that personal about me. (Says the girl with the blog.) It’s also a problem for younger children, because they have no say in it yet. They may not want everyone to see the video of them playing basketball, but they don’t understand the implications or the context.

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