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Theory & Audience Analysis

Growing up with Facebook

In response to Facebook users brace for site’s redesign

It’s been a wild ride for Facebook during the past seven years. Facebook launched February of 2004, and by the Fall of 2005 I signed up for an account. I grew up going to public school until 8th grade, and then I went to a private girls school for high school with students from all over Cincinnati. Facebook, to me, was a place where I could keep track of all my friends from the Cincinnati area.

At this age I had no idea who Mark Zuckerberg was, but I was open and willing to share almost any personal information on my Facebook profile. Zuckerberg’s “About me” on Facebook states, “I’m trying to make the world a more open place.” When I first started on Facebook, I was excited to engage in the “open” world of the internet. I uploaded my pictures of my weekend activities with my friends and changed my profile picture as I saw fit. I also shared my religious affiliation, political views, interests, activities, AIM screen name, etc.

A fan of connecting virtually with old friends and finding interests of friends I would have never known about if they did not update their Facebook profiles, I realized how much I loved the concept of Facebook. Also, along with my fellow teens, I realized how much human beings hate change. I was quick to put up status updates sharing my frustrations every time the Facebook interface changed. But if I could view the original profile from 2004, I know I would appreciate all the updates.

Reading the articles for this week made me realize not only how pervasive the issue Facebook privacy has been on society as a whole, but it also made me think back on my relationship with Facebook in terms of privacy issues as well. This week I got a Facebook friend request in class. My iPhone buzzed, and I looked down to see “You have a friend request from Elizabeth Huston” on my phone’s screen. Initially, I was confused who Elizabeth Huston was. My confusion derived from the following reasons: 1. My mother goes by Libby. 2. My mother would never “give up privacy” enough to create a Facebook.

Upon accepting the friend request, however, I realized the profile does indeed belong to my mother. To me, this truly marked the significant infiltration Zuckerman’s “open” culture has moved into our society. My mother has been skeptical about my sibling’s and my Facebook use throughout the past couple years. From questioning how much personal information I share on my profile, to calling me now about content my younger brother’s friends put on his wall that she deems as inappropriate.

I definitely have altered my Facebook use since my initial excitement back in 2005. Now that I’m searching for jobs, I’ve taken down my religious views, political views, pictures, etc. Examining this shift in behavior, I wonder if this will be necessary in the future. As our society continues to become more open, how much should we censor ourselves if we’re reasonably responsible individuals? Also with the older generation joining Facebook including my mother, Facebook’s biggest skeptic, how much has our culture already shifted?

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About lindseyhuston

I'm a strategic thinker with an eye for design. A recent graduate of Wofford College, my liberal arts background in Philosophy and English provided me with extensive writing and analytical skills. I’m adding to my skill set at Elon University learning as an MA in Interactive Media student. Teachable, driven, with an affinity towards networking, I hope to utilize my skills in a career in advertising and interactive design.

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