Thursday, June 21, 2007

Generation Y me?

So I started this blog awhile back with many things in mind. Most I can't even remember, but I think it had something to do with the crazy things that seem to just naturally occur in my life. Well, I never posted anything. Not that nothing crazy has happened since then because there have been many many things. I think I decided I didn't really want to put myself out there.

Well today, I came across this article that had a lot to say about my generation putting themselves out there. Here's the link for the story just to document the source: http://nymag.com/news/features/27341/

This first interesting piece I read was this:
Kids today. They have no sense of shame. They have no sense of privacy. They are show-offs, fame whores, pornographic little loons who post their diaries, their phone numbers, their stupid poetry—for God’s sake, their dirty photos!—online. They have virtual friends instead of real ones. They talk in illiterate instant messages. They are interested only in attention—and yet they have zero attention span, flitting like hummingbirds from one virtual stage to another.

Yes, I think to a point this is correct. We do put ourselves out there. There is a whole generation out there that can't spell because they no long write. They send IMs and texts to their friends in shortened words and sentences. They've always relied on spell check. Hasn't the world made this acceptable yet? You have celebrities that are famous for no particular reason. They leak their own stories to make them more famous and we love them for it. In this world where the media is shoving things down our throats it's almost time to wonder, didn't we ask for this? If we are interested in every aspect of some celebrity's life, isn't it ok for us to put every aspect of our own life out there?

Followed later by: And after all, there is another way to look at this shift. Younger people, one could point out, are the only ones for whom it seems to have sunk in that the idea of a truly private life is already an illusion. Every street in New York has a surveillance camera. Each time you swipe your debit card at Duane Reade or use your MetroCard, that transaction is tracked. Your employer owns your e-mails. The NSA owns your phone calls. Your life is being lived in public whether you choose to acknowledge it or not.

So it may be time to consider the possibility that young people who behave as if privacy doesn’t exist are actually the sane people, not the insane ones. For someone like me, who grew up sealing my diary with a literal lock, this may be tough to accept. But under current circumstances, a defiant belief in holding things close to your chest might not be high-minded. It might be an artifact—quaint and na├»ve, like a determined faith that virginity keeps ladies pure. Or at least that might be true for someone who has grown up “putting themselves out there” and found that the benefits of being transparent make the risks worth it.

I consider myself fortunate enough to be on the cusp of two generations. Yes, my diary had a lock and yes I have a myspace among other things. However, I came along at the end of this boom. There are some social networking sites out there that I don't even know or care about. However, I do know not to talk bad about my employer and not to post drunk pictures of myself online. There are younger kids out there that don't know that. I can't believe that I'm saying this, but it is up to parents to check it out and see what their kid is posting. Yes, you're putting yourself out there. Yes, you may be 16 and think it's cool to put a picture of you doing a keg stand at that party that your parents don't know about. I'm glad I don't have those kinds of things floating around out there. I reflect back now and I'm glad that I didn't have a myspace or facebook back then because who knows what would have ended up on there. Yes, I think these things are great, but I'm also old enough to know that they are not private. I know that my boss can easily look me up online and find out just about anything. We do live in a world where our email is not private no matter what we thing. Your company IT department can log on to your computer while you're working and see if you really are working on that report or shopping online. Kids have no reality of this. Many of them think that big brother already knows, so why hold back?

Earlier on in the article: “Whenever young people are allowed to indulge in something old people are not allowed to, it makes us bitter. What did we have? The mall and the parking lot of the 7-Eleven? It sucked to grow up when we did! And we’re mad about it now.” People are always eager to believe that their behavior is a matter of morality, not chronology, Shirky argues. “You didn’t behave like that because nobody gave you the option.”

I disagree. I did have the option. I got my first computer in the 3rd grade. Email and the Internet followed shortly after that. I remember having actual floppy disks - the kind that you had to switch out 6 times if you were playing Carmen Sandiego. I have the option to post whatever I want out there and have whoever find it. I just have the common sense to hold back on what I say. Most kids today don't have that common sense. Everyone has the option.
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