By Jenni Zellner
In today’s society, Internet usage has become an overwhelming epidemic. If it weren’t enough that people find it necessary to post every thought onto a forum for undying praise, new online applications allow you to reveal your precise location to all of cyber-space so as to prove that you’re much too cool to stay home watching How I Met Your Mother reruns while bingeing on potato chips. To name names, Twitter, Facebook and FourSquare have single-handedly revolutionized what it means to be interesting and (to use teenage jargon) have a life.
Therefore, to make fully sure that everyone knows that you’re living a fabulous life (or are alive even), these sites have made it necessary to update ALL of your statuses that you’ve been dumped and are currently shopping away your sorrows with your “besties” at the mall. Furthermore, with handy little “tags,” you can indicate that the beverage you’re crying over is a Starbuck’s Skinny Vanilla Latte and the phone you’re tweeting from is a bead-dazzled Blackberry. Letting the world know any and every emotion that is running through your mind like your ruined mascara is gold. But making the public aware to all of these emotions sprinkled with clever product placement? Now that’s priceless.
But some conservative Internet users express their outrage at the amount of information individuals abundantly dole out online. These snarky parents with cleverly abbreviated organizations want students to be more careful about the information they post online and to maximize any and all privacy settings on social networking sites. But isn’t this line of thinking hazardous to the technological direction our society is taking? If we are gratuitous with the information we put out in everyday life, why should a few computer codes and a textbox deter us from doing the same online? These organizations say that society is crossing the line, and to them I say simply that there IS no line to be crossed online! Thus, in order to be an “up-to-date,” Internet savvy individual, you should abide by the following “technologic” social cues.
First, remove those pesky privacy settings. As previously ascertained, privacy settings are designed for timid Internet users, not for full-fledged social networkers. In addition, it is completely necessary to photograph any and all activities and post them on your Facebook account. It goes without saying that if there isn’t a wittily titled album dedicated to last weekend’s dramatic events, they simply didn’t happen. In case it was also unclear, all participants must be tagged in every photo, as nothing is too scandalous or unflattering—it is the Internet, after all. This means, of course, that shots of drunken debauchery, drug paraphernalia and scantily clad poses are necessary and encouraged. The Internet is an infinite universe, and in this massive vortex of information you gotta go big or go home.
Once your activities have been aptly conveyed to the general public, it’s time to get even more personal. It’s one thing to show all of your 832 friends everything you do Thursday through Sunday, but what about your day-to-day, nine-to-five portions? Have no fear! There are many ways to combat any online absence. I’d recommend putting both personal and work cell phone numbers on display, just in case you need to answer a call on your iPhone while sending an email on your Blackberry. Naturally, I’d advise putting all email accounts, addresses, and addresses of your favorite places as well. After all, if someone needs to find you immediately, they need to know all the locations you frequent. And just to be safe, make sure your profiles link in some fashion to the contact information of all family members, best friends, pets and significant others. In other words, it should be relatively easy to contact anyone with which you interact on a daily basis. This way, through the transitive property, you are always reachable. Or if you’re adamant that your entire online social network knows your exact location at all times, you could simply “check in” via FourSquare.
There are many ways to “get personal” with the Internet, and while I could further articulate the ways in which you can keep the world up-to-date on everything from your marital status to your bank statements, at the end of the day, the information you reveal is up to you. If your goal is to reach the maximum capacity of friends on Facebook, well, that’s going to require exposure. But if you’re thinking bigger, such as over fifty Google hits, you’re going to need to put in more effort. At the end of the day, cyberspace is your robotic cavernous oyster, and if you want to make it big, you have to put yourself out there. And it’s ultimately rewarding! When you receive friend requests from perfect strangers and or phone calls from unknown area codes, you’ll know you have reached the ultimate level of Internet fame.
Jenni Zellner is a sophomore English major. E-mail her at email@example.com.