How Facebook has changed the chose your own adventure story

Tuesday, January 17, 2012 | 0 Comment(s)

I am constantly surprised by the twists and turns in the lives of those whose paths have crossed mine.  I have lived on four continents now, and multiple locations in the US.  This is not a matter of bragging, but rather that i have crossed paths with a huge number of people along the way.  And if i were growing up 25 years ago, i would probably have a few pen pals and i could see what happened to my high school girlfriends during reunions (this actually wouldn't be the case for me, since most of my high school girlfriends didn't go to my high school (god bless youth group)).  But now we have  Facebook, Google+, MySpace, FriendsterAnd because of the complexity and thoroughness of online social media, i get to be a voyeur to the end of all of these people's journeys (not creepy at all right?).  While I may have exited their life, that no longer means that our connection terminates as well.  

I'm not one for questioning my decisions.   Ok, that's completely untrue.  I question my decisions almost non-stop.  UNTIL i make them.  And then, it's done.  over.  i deliberated.  probably stressed.  waited past a few deadlines.  more deliberation.  but then -- at some point you have to give yourself credit for making a thoughtful decision.  and i do.  and thank goodness.  

The internet can be torture for those of us who aren't like this.  Those of us who worry we may have erred.  Was she the one that got away?  Did i end my friendship with him too abruptly?  There can be endless questions that could be asked.  With Facebook, we can now make a somewhat information-based conjecture regarding how our decisions played out.  "oh, i'm much better looking than her new boy."  "Look at them living it up on their honeymoon . . . that shoulda been me."  You add a dash of toomuchtimeonyourhands, and you could get a pretty depressing situation up in their right quick.   

This isn't an argument regarding social media being evil.  it's more to the tune of me assuring you that the sex ed classes of the future will focus increasingly on privacy and moderation.  Privacy in terms of anything you put up on the internet is accessible to the whole wired world.  Privacy in terms of "if you let someone take a picture of you, that image can instantly be uploaded to the whole wired world." And moderation in terms of hours spent staring at screens.  Moderation in terms of how much access we make available to our friends and the public at large.  And these are not just lessons that we need to teach our children.  They are just as applicable to ourselves.  To myself.  This friggin blog probably makes available more information than one would deem appropriate for some job searches.  But i made these decisions intentionally, and likewise, i have left out chunks of my life that are either too private or inappropriate.  The trick is, no matter what you do or do not disclose, to do so intentionally.  

Many of our politicians continue to reinforce how easily the power of the internet can be weaponized (penis photos, ab flexing, page texting).  

But alas, thankfully, the internet's power can also be used to spread joy, laughter, genius. 

And so, to honor this, i present to you the conversation i had with my father, who is on vacation, via text.  the background you need to know is that the Sadie Sea is a boat that passes our house twice a day, and i moon them, and they honk.  Subsequently i met them.  Laughter was had.  And now, when they see people at the house, they always give a toot as they pass on by.  Ok, here we go.

Dad: Sadie Sea just tooted us.... Miss u...

Me: Did you moon!!!!

Dad: No. Mom would have killed me!  I tebowed...

Me:  Nice!!!!

Me:  Think about planking.

Dad: ??

Me: Look it up.  Image search.

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