Today, a status from 2009 came up in my news feed. It was from a friend about his day snowboarding, followed by 101 comments. Many of these comments contained messages like “I know you love me a fair bit cutie” and “I think you’re the cutie” (sickening, I know). The thing with this banter, apart from the fact that it would make many of us queasy, was that it occurred between my friend and his ex-girlfriend, whose relationship ended messily to say the least.
This was nearly four years ago. So much can change in four years, especially with teenagers. Neither my friend nor his ex-girlfriend are the people they were four years ago; they’ve both gone their separate ways and they both have new partners. Yet these comments, posted what feels like a lifetime ago, are now appearing in all of our news feeds. Yes, they appear because some of our mutual Facebook friends decided to have a joke and comment on the post to make it show up in our feeds again, but I’m sure not everyone would be able to see the funny side.
Many of our old posts are cringe-worthy (note a drastic change of sense of humor seems to have occurred in my friends in the last few years!), but realistically, that’s all they are: embarrassing. That being said, there are some things that preferably should not be seen. For instance, take my snowboarding friend. He is now in a happy, stable relationship. Does he want to be reminded of the lovey dovey interaction between him and his ex before their bitter break-up? More to the point, does his present girlfriend want to see these conversations of him sweet-talking some other girl? Of course not. The fact is that it shouldn’t have been on Facebook in the first place.
Romantic (if that’s what you’d call it) conversations like my friend’s should be kept private, and not just because they make my stomach churn. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for romance. Give me a chick flick with long walks on the beach and passionate kisses in the rain any day. In fact, I’ve watched enough of them to know that it never ends well when people continuously share the intimacies of their relationship with their friends. And I don’t mean the cute things; I mean the really corny things. There are some things that just shouldn’t be shared online. Surely love is something too personal to be posted alongside ‘Bad Luck Brian’ posts and Taylor Swift goat videos.
Austin Carr’s interview on May 6 with Google’s Eric Schmidt brings up an interesting point: the Internet lacks a delete button. Data is constantly being collected about us online and, should we continue to use the Internet, there’s not much we can do about it. I believe that this only reinforces my belief that we should all be extremely cautious about the things we post on the net.
Do we really want the whole world to be able to see everything personal about us anyway? Everything we post online represents who we are as people. Our online profiles can be just as influential as our real-life selves when it comes to someone else’s perception of us. Even employers are heading to social networking sites to check out future employees. Imagine missing out on your dream job because of those few inappropriate drunk posts from last weekend. Facebook should be used for entertainment and light, fun communication. It would be very beneficial for all of us to keep in mind that not only are we sharing our information with the world, the internet has no delete button and thus we should all think before we post.