Finally, there’s, like, numbers and stuff to back up what I’ve been saying for a couple years now – old people haven’t a goddamn clue how modern social networking rolls. For all the people whose parents leave ridiculous, long, embarrassing public Facebook wall posts… this one’s for you.
The Pew Internet & American Life Project has released a report that more or less states the obvious: young folks are the authority on how to manage oneself on social networks.
First of all, let me clarify that ‘old’ for the purposes of the study, as well as this article, constitutes anything over 30 years of age. Sorry to my over-30 friends, but… you’re lookin’ pretty grey, guys, at least where the internet is concerned.
Anyway, the study threw some numbers into the light. For instance, 77% of social networkers aged 18-29 were quick to tighten privacy settings on social networks, compared to 55% of users aged 50 to 64. Additionally, approximately 50% of the 18-29 bracket have deleted comments on their profiles which they considered to be compromising, compared to 29% of the over-30 crowd. When asked if social networks could be trusted, the most resounding ‘no’ came from the youngest users.
To us in the younger bracket, this comes as little surprise. One Clark University grad, Marlene McManus, 21, says she’s been ‘scouring’ her Facebook account for anything that might be potentially revealing or embarrassing to her character. ‘I have to present a public face that doesn’t have the potential to hurt my image,’ said McManus of her activity. With Facebook privacy the way it is these days, I don’t disagree with her. ‘I get embarrassed for these people and sometimes just want to shake them,’ she added, addressing those users, frequently older, who don’t seem to think before they post.
To be honest, users of all ages should sort of take something away from Pew’s report – that our online and offline selves are truly no longer that different, and that we should all similarly seek to keep ourselves in check on both fronts.
I am so, so, so glad my parents have no idea what Facebook is.