Some of you will remember that several months ago Yahoo! shut down Geocities.com. It was a sentimental moment for those of us whose first forays into the online world include a Geocities page, composed either in HTML or with a basic tool like Word. Several years ago I realized that a blog was much better suited to my online self-aggrandizement desires than a small, hodge-podge site like Geocities. After I little while on a languishing Xanga site in college, I think I’ve found a happy, hospitable home here on WordPress.
In the early online era, my father was particularly wary of any personal information about the family being exposed on the Internet. One time I put up some page that mentioned my mom’s and sisters’ names, and he was so worried that he made me take it down. I think he was concerned about stalkers–this was before Law & Order: SVU, but he had a vivid imagination.
Now, we live in a world vastly different. My brother is about the same age as I was when I entered my first chess chat room, and he and Deb Facebook several times a day. If you wanted to stalk my sister or any one of thousands of other 19-year-old girls, it would be fairly easy. You could find out where she lives and goes to school, and track her school schedule from her Tweets and status updates. You would know what she looks like and who her BFsF are. It’s easier than ever to find out too much about a stranger.
And yet, I’m not terribly worried. Good grief–my parents are borderline technophobes–they have never gotten EZPass, for fear that Big Brother will track them. I’m not that bad–my bittersweet solace is that the government could most certainly find me whether I used EZPass or not.
I just wonder how public–exposed–a life my currently in utero son will live when he is a teen/young adult. Who knows what information folks will post on the social networking successor to Facebook’s successor? Maybe a map of his DNA, a full-body scan, his financial information and a tracking device in his surgically implanted mobile device? I’ll be the overprotective father, worrying about his safety, and he’ll eschew my warnings.
And, he will probably grow up just fine…