Thursday, May 31, 2007

My Thoughts on the Future

I've been thinking about this for a while, so here it goes...

Do you remember the first time that you posted a photo of yourself online?

I can't remember just how old I was, but I'd guess I was probably about 14. The Internet was still brand new and AOL was charging by the minute.

Actually, after a little digging online, I found it. I believe that this is very possibly the first photo ever put on the Internet of me. It was over 10 years ago and I posted it myself.

Do you remember the first time you allowed your height to be published somewhere?

What about your last name?

The city where you live?

And your job title?

Your resume?

All of your friends names?

Photos of your family?

I can remember all of these moments in my life. They were all very deliberate choices; many of them directly tied to my age and stage of my life. I was careful not to reveal too much too quickly or at too young of an age.

I am completely aware that a potential employer, friend, or colleague can learn all about me at anytime. Heck, I do it myself when I want to learn about someone new.

This is a reasonable thing to think about, because once something is posted online, it doesn't go away.

What about nowadays though? Do we think before we post?

I've started to notice a trend...

More and more people are tracking their pregnancies online. There are photos of new moms' big bellies each month, growing larger by the frame.

Dads are posting photos of their newborns, still all red and just delivered at the hospital.

Parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents are posting photos of a child's first steps, first haircut, first, first, first...

Some parents even write restaurant reviews about their experiences eating out online.

With online papers, you can track a child's grades and accomplishments who live in another city. (This comes in handy for me with my brothers that live in Oklahoma.)

What happens in another 10 to 20 years when an adult persons entire life has been traced online, from conception to present?

How will this further impact us when we apply to school, for a job, or even when we ask someone on a date? What about children who are making friends, applying to high school, or looking for a first job?