The Idiom

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Youngsters Letting It All Hang Out On Internet

A reader writes:
Why do you guys go to such lengths to remain anonymous? Geez, what do you work for the CIA or something?

Darth Caitlin
Council Bluffs, Iowa
Well Darth, believe you us - Kid Various would like nothing more than to blog unexpurgated about his life. It's theraputic and occaisionally interesting.

Here's an interesting cover story for the New Yorker concerning younger people's lesser views towards privacy and letting out more personal information about themselves on the Internet. (hat tip Arts & Letters Daily)
More young people are putting more personal information out in public than any older person ever would—and yet they seem mysteriously healthy and normal, save for an entirely different definition of privacy. From their perspective, it’s the extreme caution of the earlier generation that’s the narcissistic thing. Or, as Kitty put it to me, “Why not? What’s the worst that’s going to happen? Twenty years down the road, someone’s gonna find your picture? Just make sure it’s a great picture.”

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.
Kid Various understands the allure. This is the way it should be, with everyone having access to everyone else's information, and not being embarassed by it. After a while, it loses its power. You have a humiliating picture of yourself or stories about how wildly stoned you were at last week's loft party? Yeah, well guess what? So does everyone else!

So it's not any big deal to put it on the internet, warts and all. Above all, don't be a hypocrite. You are who you are.

And people who can't handle that? Well suck my balls, Kyle!

Unfortunately, the people who can't handle that seem to be running the world. Perhaps this will change as those who grew up with the internet take positions of power. When everyone has naked pictures of themselves on the internet, then no one will care. Hell, if Kid Various was hiring someone, googled them and found naked pictures of them he'd probably have more respect for them than for someone who's carefully shielded every aspect of their lives.

But The Kid has learned from harsh experience that in his profession, there are plenty o' people out there who can't take a fucking joke! So until they can lighten the fuck up, take the stick out of their ass and get off The Kid's dick - Kid Various, and his partners, shall remain blissfully anonymous.


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