Tales from the Net

a work in progress

Sunday, January 27, 2008

CNN on “Parents crashing online party”

Parents crashing online party is a great complement to last week’s when worlds collide, looking at the challenges when parents are on the same social neworking sites as their kids:

Nowhere are the technological turf wars more apparent than on social networking sites, such as MySpace and Facebook, which went from being student-oriented to allowing adults outside the college ranks to join.

Gary Rudman, a California-based youth market researcher, has heard the complaints. He regularly interviews young people who think it’s “creepy” when an older person — we’re talking someone they know — asks to join their social network as a “friend.” It means, among other things, that they can view each others’ profiles and what they and their friends post.

And on Facebook, as my friend Bubba Murarka pointed out to me last week, it also means that they’ll potentially see any photos of you posted and tagged by your other friends.  Yikes!

Of course once you know that your parents (or their friends) are watching, you can do things differently … but there’s a cost:

Lakeshia Poole, a 24-year-old from Atlanta, says “my Facebook self has become a watered down version of me.” Worried about older adults snooping around, she’s now more careful about what she posts and has also made her profile private, so only her online friends can see it.

“It’s somewhat a Catch-22, because now I’m hidden from the people I would really like to connect with,” she says.

Really what I’d like is to have a couple of different personas, one for parents and colleagues, another for friends.  Some sites allow multiple accounts, which gives a way of doing this; but it’s a real pain: multiple places to check, multiple places to update, remembering which of your friends are where.  Other people use different networks for the different personas (for example, LinkedIn for professional purposes); that’s annoying too, in much the same ways.  So right now there really isn’t a great solution for this.

posted by Jon at 4:52 pm  

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