I remember signing online with a free Juno dial up account as a kid. I remember when a friend gave me a link to his personal web site, not as a link pasted in a quick email, but on a scrap of paper--in the days when bookmarks were just lines you typed out in a text file. I remember when savvy users' personal websites consisted of little more than an animated .gif, Nintendo cheat codes, and their favorite jokes about Yoda's balls.
These (many) years later, the "web" has become a different place. Along came high speed connections, Web 2.0, and the glorious maturation of the internet as the new opiate of the masses. Now everyone fills hard drives with MP3's like hot cakes. Baby's are embedded with microchips giving them a social networking IDs before they can even crawl (okay, only in Tokyo).
A few hundred blogs and more than a couple lamentable picture uploads later, the search engines have my number--or at least my URL. Privacy settings are a nuisance to those who don't want to subscribe to your narcissistic drivel and more often than not, turn your page into a complete dead zone. It's tricky territory. I want to share, but not with all the ex-girlfriends, potential employers, and overly sensitive family members who have instant access to the things I'd hoped would just stay lost in the soup.
It makes me feel beat down and uncreative. I suppose these are the natural pitfalls of living in a well-connected global community. I have to get used to living in constant fear that everything I do will be documented on someone's cell phone video and uploaded somewhere.
I hope you guys like watching me pick my nose and will forgive me for my large ass.
Sometimes, I'm grateful for all this openness. I find myself reserving sailor talk for wooing. I don't think pictures of my ding-dong are quite as funny now that my nieces might decide to take the browser out for a spin. Even my friends have started to notice. I'm more careful...and more lame.
I'm jealous of kids who work at Taco Bell and can't type three words without using an expletive. I'm jealous of the people who post videos showing the world degrading videos of their girlfriends. (Not because they're using the internet for it's intended purpose, but for the fact that they have girlfriends). I'm jealous of those who stand tall and are free to be total a-holes without the worry of who might land on their little corner of the internet.
I find my careful habits bleeding over into my regular life. When someone feeds me a line, I no longer make the factual statement, "You're full of crap." I smile, nod, and try to construct a gently worded way to excuse myself from their shenanigans. I evade to not make waves. After all, it wouldn't do to have them stop leaving me glittery comments.
I know I don't need anyone's permission to be crass. I'm an American, imbued with all the sense of entitlement that implies. It just doesn't feel like I'm allowed my normal allotment of mistakes and jerky moments, anymore. There's a cloud of anxiety hanging over the world when you live in an era where everything is saved in someone's cache. Every day feels like a day that will live in infamy.
Maybe I'm just a worrier. I'll stop. Scout's honor.
Okay. Good aimless post. High five. We'll do it again soon. Next time, I'll try to avoid "balls," "ass," "crap," and lies about the Japanese. They're good people who love babies. Who knows? They might even read my blogs.