While I am, it is only after years of holding out and enduring much ridicule. When I finally opened my FB account, I did so with an open mind but a heavy heart. I feared what was to become of me, or rather, my privacy.
Luckily, I grew up in an era without Facebook and digital technology so there were no incriminating photos of me 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 immediately action. I compelled the guilty parties to remove the tag post haste, eliminating any identifying links to my pre-Twenty First Century self.
Today I would never wear high hair and puffy, iridescent sleeves, and I simply couldn’t tolerate that kind of smut floating around for public consumption with my name on it. I wouldn’t have my current image tainted by 90’s fashion sense. We all make mistakes; we shouldn’t have to relive them. Thankfully, that girl in the back corner of the tattered photo could be any high-haired, puffy-sleeve-wearing teenage Jersey girl of the 90’s.
But that was before 2003 and 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. In a world where FB is as essential to our society as water and where kids opening accounts is inevitable, the question then becomes what age is the right age?
I’ve already written on Tweeting Toddlers. 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 (and the word is befriend no matter what Facebook says) me, although I don’t know if I’m okay with that. Shouldn’t there be some sort of FB law prohibiting teenage nieces and nephews from connecting with adult relatives who are certain to be shocked and uncomfortable with their inappropriate teenage status updates?
I do feel, though, that FB has some positive features. I’m glad I can stay connected to people I might have lost touch with in a pre-Facebook world, and I’m glad I can reconnect with old high school friends I otherwise would have 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.
I haven’t opened an account for her yet, but I know it’s coming. It’s just a matter of when.