Younger users online are increasingly becoming worried about their privacy.   We saw this coming, right?

From the NY Times:

Sam Jackson, a junior at Yale who started a blog when he was 15 and who has been an intern at Google, said he had learned not to trust any social network to keep his information private. “If I go back and look, there are things four years ago I would not say today,” he said. “I am much more self-censoring. I’ll try to be honest and forthright, but I am conscious now who I am talking to.”

Many are applauding this movement of younger people embracing privacy.  Parents certainly don’t want their children failing to get into Harvard because of photos of them doing jello shots on Facebook.

Ms. Liu is not just policing her own behavior, but her sister’s, too. Ms. Liu sent a text message to her 17-year-old sibling warning her to take down a photo of a guy sitting on her sister’s lap. Why? Her sister wants to audition for “Glee” and Ms. Liu didn’t want the show’s producers to see it. Besides, what if her sister became a celebrity? “It conjures up an image where if you became famous anyone could pull up a picture and send it to TMZ,” Ms. Liu said.

Makes sense right?  We went a little overboard online during the past few years, didn’t we?

The early years of the blogosphere can be considered either the “Golden Age” or the “Wild West” of social media, depending on your view of this privacy issue.  Right now, there seems to be a backlash against our openness, with “The Wild West” winning out.   In this scenario, we will soon be shaking our heads in disgust at our behavior, as if we fornicating in front of the Golden Calf as Moses climbed Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments.

“Who did we think we were — real writers and celebrities?”  we will ask ourselves.  “Did we actually think we were interesting and that we were supposed to EXPOSE OURSELVES to others, body and soul?”

Even in my circle of friends, I hear talk of mommybloggers pulling back and not posting photos of their kids.   There is a growing number of moms who see this as exploitation.

Bloggers have been nasty lately, fighting over what is appropriate to say to each other in public discourse.  Is it any wonder that bloggers are moving out of the public arena and shutting down their personal blogs, like urban folk running away to the suburbs.   Who needs the trouble?

The Wild West Blogosphere of the past few years has been chaotic and dangerous, a virtual Tombstone filled with dead bodies piled in the OK Corral, but it has also been lively, complete with big personalities and human drama.  Blogging would be boring without it.  If you look at today’s list of the “most influential bloggers, mom bloggers, or twitterers,” 99% of them are marketers, social media gurus or bloggers selling a Martha Stewart-style image.  What fun is that?

I see things differently.  The last few years have been the blogosphere’s “Golden Age.”   No one really thought about the ramifications of what they were doing.   And that was pretty radical.  Once privacy becomes central to blogging, what the hell is there to blog about in a personal blog other than the superficial?   Will bloggers now be afraid of “opening up?” knowing that every word will be embedded into Google search forever.

That would be a sad event.   The blogosphere will just be another professional arena.  In the last few years, I learned so much from direct contact with other bloggers — for instance, how rampant sexual abuse is in our society.   I met friends who are alcoholics.  I talked with bloggers with all sorts of illnesses that were once only whispered about only at home, such as cancer.  This sharing online came about for one reason — an agreed-upon  LACK OF PRIVACY.   We would be honest, and expected it in return.   Sometimes we would get judgmental, but mostly the whole point of blogging was to connect.  If the 1960s was all about letting it all hang out in a physical sense, the blogosphere of 2003-2010 was about letting it hang out emotionally.  Bloggers felt comfortable revealing their mental illnesses, their bad marriages, and their bad mothering techniques.  They were not worrying about how this information could be used AGAINST THEM.  Once that happened, it was over.  It becomes too dangerous.  And when even COLLEGE KIDS are afraid of looking stupid on Facebook, you know that corporate, sensible, puritanical America has won.  Oh, sure the drinking, sex, and drugs will continue on campuses across America, but it will always be someone ELSE who was doing it, not us.  The blogosphere will be like “Desperate Housewives” Wisteria Lane, suburban and glossy on the outside, but behind closed doors…

Remember when President Clinton said he smoked pot but didn’t inhale?  Doesn’t that seem silly now?  I thought the blogosphere was creating a new world.  I was already forseeing a future where that type of shit didn’t matter anymore.

Presidential Candidate 2020 Judith Grossman:  “As you can see from my Facebook photos, yes, I smoked pot… alot.  I’m a little embarrassed about that video of that threesome I had in graduate school, but since it is on YouTube already, what can I do?  At least I had a good time.  I know I bitched a lot about my mother on my blog, “I Hate My Mother,” but eventually we reconciled, and now my dear mother is in the audience with me today, my biggest supporter.  Hello, Mom.  Happy Mother’s Day.  My opponent has been playing dirty in his campaign, revealing those tweets I made on the evening of my abortion in 2016, but as you can see this NSFW photo my opponent put up on in 2012, he has plenty of shortcomings, if you know what I mean.  Does America really want this man fighting terrorism at home and overseas?”

I was hoping that people would just laugh at that speech.  Facebook would make all of us equal.  Someone had a gay experience in college?  Yawn.  Who hasn’t?  Your daughter showed her tits at Mardi Gras?  Like YOU didn’t?!

People would be judged by important things, such as kindness and commitment to justice.  I would hate to think because someone writes the word “fuck” on their blog that they might be unable to get a job with a law firm.  In my world, I would ONLY give a job to the person who had the balls to be real.

I am all for privacy.  I hate the data that Facebook collects on us because the purpose is to SELL US STUFF.  And I do believe we need to be careful with our privacy, especially with our families.  But I am not as afraid of the future.  Your kids are already growing up with a world with less “privacy.”  Live with it.  And maybe there is some good to this.  Is it possible that society has kept some issues out of sight and out of mind for two long, under the guise of privacy.  Would we rather live in the 1950s, where we feared sharing our dirty laundry — racism, sexism, rape, mental illness, etc?

As much as I hate the nastiness, trolls, fighting, and lack of privacy of today’s blogosphere, it is much better than a white-washed image of ourselves, filled with glossy filtered photos, constructed to attract PR firms and employees, each of us nothing more than an avatar in a multi-media resumes.

I have a dream.  One day, a proud Jewish mother will be playing mah jonng with her friends, and will go on Facebook to show her friends some recent photos of her daughter in college.

“Here’s Lisa as president of the student body at Harvard.  She has a perfect GPA.  Here’s Lisa with her Jewish boyfriend; he’s pre-Med.  And here’s Lisa showing her tits at the Mardi Gras last year.  She loved New Orleans!”