I’d better not see that on Facebook.

I’d better not see that on Facebook.

Here’s a quote you hear after every camera flash at every party you ever go to.  Or people milling about reminding people to not tag them in photos.

And why is that, exactly?  So their Mom won’t see?  So that potential employers won’t see what an animal they are?  (employers should never screen prospective employees using Facebook, but that’s a topic for another day)

The answer is: yes, to all of these questions.  But the reason is simple: people want to be in control of their digital identities.  And that leads me to the thesis: stop putting embarrassing photos of your children online.

We are pioneers of a new frontier.  We were thrust into a world with social media, but we weren’t given the foresight to see how it will affect our identities months, years, decades, or millennia in the future.  It was a slow fade–we all enjoyed tagging on Facebook, but then what happened?  People lost jobs, or were flatly refused employment as a result of their emerging online identities.  Our consciousness shifted.  We realized that there were consequences to sharing on Facebook.

It’s time for our consciousness to shift again.

The next generation is being forced into social media.  Their online identities are becoming known to Google and Facebook, and they don’t even have a say in the matter.  We live in a world where Facebook has facial recognition engines as good as (or better) than the human brain, but infinite capacity to store that data.

Facebook’s facial recognition is a terrifying collection of data.  This means that a photo you took in a Las Vegas club could actually connect you to the people in the background and margins of your frame.

We are subjecting our children to this scrutiny.  Our children are not even ready to fathom the expanse of the Internet and how it shapes their identity, yet we are dumping their lives, moments, and history into a machine that knows more about the state of humanity than the world has ever known.

Our lives are being cataloged.

Every photo you take is algorithmically scrutinized.  Every post you make is geotagged so you won’t forget where you were.  Every hashtag you use is intimately connected to the breath of global consciousness.

This is perfectly okay–for you.  Your children do not need their lives pasted into a digital scrapbook they have no control over.

In the past year, I’ve seen…

  • pictures of naked children in bathtubs (way too many, actually)
  • videos of children crying as they are forced into using a training toilet
  • videos of naked, panicked children running around the house during a rain storm

And I could go on.  If you’re not comfortable sharing this level of detail about you and your personal life on Facebook (Twitter, Instagram, etc), then you shouldn’t post these things about your children, either.

#precipitate: Watching Twitter Aggregate The World’s Pulse

alternate title: My Love Letter To Twitter

This should be no secret to anyone: Twitter is my favorite social network. Twitter has earned my respect because the social network is impressive. Facebook and Twitter have the unique position of receiving a majority of the world’s thoughts, emotions and input on the world’s events and the pulse of the social scene.

Twitter aggregates these events better. Over the past hour, I have watched the Jerry Sandusky trial verdicts precipitate on Twitter. The key words of the case rose right to the top of Twitter’s trending topics.

I’ve been using Twitter since it was a baby social network, long before it was a social media bohemoth, like it is today.

Twitter will be a great social network for years to come, because they love and listen to their users (how could you not–they’re very social).

Twitter’s main feature set was put in place by its users: @username tagging, #hashtagging were all features used by Twitter users before the features were developed into the product. These features, as well as Twitter’s impressive push platform, have managed to make Twitter the fastest, most accurate (albeit chaotic with a low signal-to-noise ratio) to let the interests of the people be aggregated and to let them #precipitate.