Sunday, March 15, 2009

NY Times on facebook

Growing Up on Facebook
Published: March 15, 2009
Can you forge your future self when you never leave the present?

Read it here:

I posted this obnoxiously long comment on Michael's facebook when he posted this article, and then realized I'd like to see what other people think so I am posting it here, too, with some added stuff at the end:

Here's what I think: The lady who wrote this article is a mom, and the moms in our life got on Facebook with a different understanding of what it's purpose was. When I first started on Facebook, the only people I was friends with on it were friends from my current life, college. It was an umbrella communication tool. Back then it was like, once every couple of months someone you remembered from somewhere else would friend you, and it was a huge surprise and a little weird.

Once my mom's generation got on it, they had to understand it in the context of their life, a much less digital existence, and so the shape it took was not social networking, but connecting with the past. I sort of think it probably had a lot to do with the constant pop-up ads for years that everyone got from, telling you to reconnect with people you went to high school with. That was way more palatable to someone who didn't grow up on AIM chat.

So while I don't disagree that Facebook may change the way people reminisce, I also think that it's not necessary to be lonely to grow, and it's not necessarily healthy reinforce the old idea that you need to keep growing and changing into different versions of yourself while no one is watching...Wouldn't it actually be refreshing if we just evolved in front of each other and learned to understand each other as self-improving humans? Or no?

I just feel like every generation we fall into this same trap of looking at the younger generation as "doing it wrong" or messing up growing up, or whatever. All I know is, I'm in the group they are talking about but I am happy, thoughtful, and feel like I'm doing it right. Even updated my Facebook status with mangled syntax such as "Jackie is indie craft show."

What do you think?


Amy said...

since I grew up far from where i am now, Facebook is both for me. I'm reconnecting with people I haven't seen in ten years, and communicating with people I see everyday IRL.

Ryan K said...

ne'er have i e'er seen a MSM article get it right re: the twitscape. facebook has no bearing on a kid's ability to redefine herself...the "450 closest friends" aren't watching, they're busy w/ their own lives and their own walls, and they see what you let them see.

two months ago, i moved home to california, grew a HUGE fucking beard and got a shitty p/t job at american apparel while i study for the GRE and LSAT. some of my friends know this. the ones who i talk to. little of this is on facebook.

kids know how to manage their online personae, and they do, and yes, they will judiciously delete and update, and that's fine. same as it ever was.

je said...

i am interested to read this article. but i suspect, having read similar articles recently (what's with this trend) that we are actually not the ones that the article is geared to. i've heard it said somewhere and suspect to be true that as a result of the incredibly rapid expansion of the internet having changed our entire culture there is a huge and sudden chasm in generations that isn't so much between people in the boomer generation and people in the gen x generation, but more like people over 25 and people under 25. things have changed so rapidly that even the way you and i and all our friends use tools like facebook is vastly different than the way teenagers and tweens use it. and while i feel no interest or reason to pass judgement on how kids today are socializing, i can see why there is reason to be concerned when its so easy for kids to constantly be in touch with one another, constantly be focused on updating one another with every detail of their life, etc. that said, i have no idea, maybe my thoughts are irrelevant, since i haven't yet read the article. i could be way off base. but that said, i suspect we're out of that age bracket.. or maybe it's just me! hell, live journal didn't even surface until my junior year, before that it was all make out club secrecy, which may as well have been one of those personals sections in the back of the City Paper.

je said...

p.s. i've spent the last 24 hours working on a brief that has been printing for the last 10 minutes, so if my comment sounds overly-stuffy, it wasn't intentional! i need to take a break.

Anonymous said...

It's been a while since you wrote this entry and I just found it. I'm guessing I'm your parents age, and I have to agree with you on your take on the article. Reaching out an touching someone from the past, isn't something I care to do. Facebook seems like it's fast becoming a reunion link for senior citizens. Facebook needs a facelift. LOLOLOL