Friday, March 02, 2007

Narcissism On Parade

"As younger people reveal their private lives on the Internet, the older generation looks on with alarm and misapprehension not seen since the early days of rock and roll. The future belongs to the uninhibited." -- New York Magazine feature titled Kids, the Internet, and the End of Privacy: The Greatest Generation Gap Since Rock and Roll.

This article resonated with me as an American female writer in her 30s (maybe even a "Yippie" or a "Grup," a new, bizarre but right-on nickname that has emerged as my generation continues to evolve both on- and off-line), a mother and an extremely revealing, confessional style blogger/vlogger.

(I stumbled across the article in the middle of the night on another female blogger's site. I feel terrible that I can't remember he name or URL, otherwise I'd link to her now.)

Also from the article for your contemplation: "What happens when a person who has archived her teens grows up? Will she regret her earlier decisions, or will she love the sturdy bridge she’s built to her younger self—not to mention the access to the past lives of friends, enemies, romantic partners? On a more pragmatic level, what does this do when you apply for a job or meet the person you’re going to marry? Will employers simply accept that everyone has a few videos of themselves trying to read the Bible while stoned? Will your kids watch those stoner Bible videos when they’re 16? Is there a point in the aging process when a person will want to pull back that curtain—or will the MySpace crowd maintain these flexible, cheerfully thick-skinned personae all the way into the nursing home?"

I'm deeply considering the ramifications (concentric circle effects?) of being so open and free with the intimate details of my life and, more importantly my children's lives, as I prepare to hunker down tonight, to barricade myself behind my open laptop at a darkened, cave-like downtown hookah bar and cafe, to put the finishing touches on the first three chapters of my first memoir. Now that I'm vlogging the kids and our misadventures on the town, there's so much more to consider than before.

How much should I reveal? Who could potentially get hurt or offended in the process?

Why should I hold back? No one else does any more.

That about covers what I'm thinking about today, other than waking up my two young-ins so we can speed downtown to pick up their big bro from kindergarten. Next we'll bump around the bluff by the shore, climb a snaggle of massive tree roots and head back home to kick off our weekend of "Where the heck is Mommy?"

I'll be off and away until I produce a decent beginning to my book. But how much will I reveal this time? How much would you reveal? (And did this lame excuse for a posting make any sense any way?)



At 4:53 PM, Blogger Em said...

Not only did this make sense but it offers great fodder for thinking and conversation. (I'm always pleased when I can use 'fodder' in a sentence.) Kids and adults are sharing in unprecendented ways. And will it come back to haunt us? I try to be careful by not giving my kids real names or photos of their faces. But I bet they wouldn't care. I just don't know who else might. Maybe the people who will search MySpace when they interview for jobs will have their own MySpace page. Maybe it just won't matter.

At 5:38 PM, Blogger Oh, The Joys said...

I don't know the answers, but now I will just look to you for them.

I've seem some others write about how the older their kids get, the less they share about them in this format.

There might be something to that...

At 6:22 PM, Blogger Karen said...

I think maybe you read Andrea's post at a garden of nna mmoy, even if it wasn't that one, she also references that article and her whole assessment of privacy is fascinating and insightful. As for narcissism, I know our generation and those a bit younger a being accused of that now, but I have to wonder, by whom? I feel that I'm being reacted to for highlighting my kids, like that's so bad? As always, often critics are really responding to what they feel is an inherent criticism of their kind of parenting (visit bub and pie, for hilarious multiple choice quiz on this topic). I think boomers were sort of hands off type parents and feel like all this child-centeredness is inherently wrong, whereas I find it potentially crazy making without balance, but not wrong in itself. Fascinating topic, fuel for more stupid mommy wars - from what are we being distracted this time?

At 8:44 PM, Blogger Loralee Choate said...

Eh. I think that every single blogger shares something they wish they had not.

I think that so much of it depends on what your definition of privacy is and your own personal boundaries.

What is shocking and terrible to some may mearly recieve an eyebrow raise from other sections of the blogosphere.

People are so diverse in this area that setting up a standard would be pretty pointless. People who point, chastise, try to censor and are unhappy with what other bloggers do are usually just getting uselessly frustrated.

As for the "No one else does" in regards to restraint. I guess it depends. Many just seem to want to shock all the time. I think that this is exacerbated by the biggest personal blog in the universe is Dooce.

Most of the blogs I go to are pretty sanitized and restrained. Unless it is a totally anonymous blog, most are too afraid or worried to be "Out there".

I tend to like a blog that is more real and honest but not trying for shock value all the time.

At 11:24 PM, Anonymous karenkt said...

Yes, excellent fodder indeed. Thought-provoking topic with far-reching contemplations. Keep it coming.
I agree that probably one would blog less about one's kids the older they get..... and is the young-ins stuff really too private? So much of it is used as launch points for discussion on the bigger topic at hand, not the kids themselves.
let's dwell more on this.
Glad to hear big bro is back in Kinder.

At 2:18 AM, Blogger Lara said...

this is something i've thought about a lot, and i know a lot of the mommy bloggers have discussed it as well. if it's something you're interested in, check out lady m's blog at, and search her blog for "privacy." she's written lots of good posts, mostly in that she hase lots of links to other blog posts about it as well. if you want to look into it. :)

At 9:10 AM, Blogger gingajoy said...

It makes total sense--I think there are a lot of us thinking about this right now. The public/private boundary issue.

Athena Dreaming has written on this pretty extensively (and links this article). I find her post RIP Privacy fascinating:

(you should also read her later post on why she does not post pics of her daughter).

I don't post pics of my kids. It was the one caveat my husband declared when I took up the blog. In some ways I feel I miss out--I miss a way to connect. But in other ways I am glad the decision was a simple one. I don;t have to worry about it too much. I am very selective about what stories I tell, and I would not call my blog a confessional journal, but a space to write about my expriences for an audience. I think there's a difference, and it affects how I approach an entry.

All that said, many of my favorite blogs divulge so much more than I do, and I love them for it.

At 9:18 AM, Blogger Sarah said...

wow....that article. It makes me feel Old.

I have been engaged in a conversation about paradigm shifts in religion. I wonder if we aren't on the brink of a hughly important cultural shift the world over.
It was striking to me that it seems that the younger generations have a more authentic, visible self 'out there' for all to see. I feel so selective about what I put 'out there' because I do like my sense of privacy. My recent plunge into the world of blogging has stripped a few more layers back sometimes leaving me feeling a little more exposed than I had expected.

We may just very well be the 'old guard' who is bitching about the 'nonsense' of all those wippersnappers putting it all on line for the world to view.

Very challenging. It is exciting and scares me to death when I think of my own children.

At 9:32 AM, Anonymous healingmagichands said...

They can put it up on line for all the world to view, but does anybody actually look? I mean, I never have gone to MySpace and probably never will.

Meanwhile, I agonize about telling some of the stories that I lived through when I was in college, knowing they are GREAT tales, and would amuse a lot of my readers. I sit and wonder, but what if I ever really decided to run for President? Whoops, that one night stand, that boozy party, that rather stoned bad decision I made? Would I be reduced to "But I didn't inhale?" Hah. I ate it, I drank it, I smoked it, I did it, so what? Perhaps that is what all this revelation is finally going to accomplish.

At 10:11 AM, Blogger Domestic Slackstress said...

Yes - We are all flawed humans. So what? I like this. But last night my guest and husband brought up the point that shouldn't we all aspire to be better? Upstanding citizens who try despite their mistakes and flaws to be fair and ethical? Someone our children can look up to and mirror in their own behavior? If that is the case with me, then I'm afraid of how my kids will turn out. Going off to hole up someone where and write. Have a good weekend, all.

At 10:12 AM, Blogger Domestic Slackstress said...

I meant to say "some where," not "someone where." Not a good start to writing here. I'm already feeling like toast left too long in the toaster. Nothing a little latte can't fix.

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