Confessions of a Work-at-Home Mom: The Facebook Generation
Any time I’ve needed a childhood photo of myself, my mom has had to dig it out of one of dozens of photo albums, all of which she had to maintain by printing and arranging photos on a regular basis. It was an expensive, time-consuming process, and finding a certain photo has never been an easy task. She probably didn’t take as many photos as she would have had there been no development or printing costs, and with a job and an education and a family to take care of, keeping extensive handwritten journals just wasn’t in the cards.
Today, when my family asks me for photos of my child or an account of something funny he did six months ago, I search for and upload the info to my computer and post it either on Flickr, Facebook, a blog post or e-mail. It’s done and the grandparents are ooo-ing and ah-ing in a matter of minutes, and it’s all of little or not cost to me both in terms of time and cash.
As for storing this information, there are several free programs available for download that make that task as close to painless as cataloguing hundreds of photos and bits of data can be. The ability to add descriptive tags that can describe anything from the colors in a photo to where a photo was snapped puts any photo within easy reach, and blogging software renders the volumes of accounts we write about our kids that in decades before we might have tucked away haphazardly in a scrapbook or journal searchable and readily available by simply punching the correct keys on a keyboard. That it all now comes complete with built-in online sharing capabilities is icing on the cake.
Long story short, snapping, storing and sharing photos and information about our lives has never been faster, easier or cheaper. The advancements in technology and social media have given rise to a generation whose time as children will be more public and thoroughly documented than any other generation before them. The implications are both exciting and unnerving, as they are just about any time we humans find power that we didn’t have before.
Mostly, though, I think the implications are unknown. Though we’ve been digitizing information for decades now, I don’t think we’ll fully grasp for awhile the long-term impact of these new ways we can catalogue and share our lives on our identities or on the cultures and history of the world. How will the technological ease of recording our lives affect the members of Gen Y and their children, the first few generations to grow up with personal computers and the Internet in their homes and schools, and their senses of themselves as individuals and as an age group? How will it all shape the world and the history that’s yet to be written, and how will our relatively new ability to capture and share information about ourselves and the world around us with large numbers of people and in very short periods of time continue to evolve and change? The changes – and the possibilities – make it tough to guess.
But I love to ponder it all, anyway. What do you think? Do you think that the communication technology that’s available to us today revolutionary and changes fundamentally how we’ll ultimately live our lives, or do you think it all just amounts to newer, faster ways of doing things we were already doing before?