I'm sure it will come as no surprise to everyone that my weekends are usually filled with some pretty wild and crazy moments. Many of these moments I would prefer not to relive as they usually involve liquor-fueled antics of Lindsay Lohan magnitude. Of course, I have no problem taming things down a bit for small weekend recaps on this here blog, but it's okay, most of you don't know me IRL, meaning you weren't witness to my weekend shenanigans and therefore I can reveal as little or as much of my shameful behavior to you as I choose. And I am A-okay with that.
Unfortunately, there's this thing that exists now called Facebook. I'm currently involved in a love/hate relationship with Facebook. When I first joined Facebook, it was at the insistence of my sisters and my grad school classmates. Facebook was a great place for me to keep in touch with my sisters, and it was a great place for my grad school chums and I to have open discussions with each other and vent about the horrors of grad school. Of course, then Facebook became a place to reconnect with old high school friends and old college friends and old co-workers and new acquaintances, and so on and so on.
Where I used to find myself logging on to check out new pics of my nephews or see what important deadline I may have missed, I now find myself logging on to conduct damage control.* For some bizarre reason, there are people out there (mostly females) who like to bring cameras with them everywhere and document everything they do. It is inevitable that at least one of these people will cross paths with me on the weekends. Unfortunately. In any social situation I'm involved in, I find myself making mental notes of who has cameras/phones, and wondering, "are they friends with me on Facebook"? That way, come Monday morning, when I'm feeling like a living, breathing human being again, I can jump onto Facebook and untag myself in all the incriminating pics, and pray to God that very few of my Facebook friends saw them.
I am not naive enough to think that people IRL are unaware of my extracurricular activities, but that does not mean that I want everyone and their brothers to know. Believe it or not, it is very important to me to have people respect me. They don't need to like me, but respect me? Yes, please. And nothing can eat away more quickly at someone's respect than a drunken photo. True story.
There are many different aspects of my life. There are some aspects of my life that I would like to keep separate from each other. I tend to be a very private person (this blog being the exception), and when it comes to the things I do IRL being shared with everyone I know, well, I believe less is more. Unfortunately, Facebook makes this harder and harder to do. For example, my former grad school classmates know me as an intelligent, hard working, respectful, kick-ass art teacher. And yes, they also know that I like to let loose on the weekends, but they have never been witness to my really wild moments, and I would like to keep it this way. These people are my colleagues, my peers. Someday they may even help me to get a job. Someday they may even be my co-workers. I would like to keep their respect.
Unfortunately, not everyone out there thinks the way that I do. There are people who have no problem posting hundreds of pics of themselves drunk and dancing on bar tops. There are people out there who have no problem letting the world know that their lovey-dovey, hunny-bunny, sweetie-pie just came back from work and they're so excited to have them home. I am not one of these people. Of course, I am only human, and from time to time I am prone to a loss of good judgment, resulting in over-sharing on Facebook as well, but these moments are few and far between. I work very hard to try and control what aspects of my life are known to those who barely know me, those who used to know me, those who know me well, and those who know me too well.
Information and dirt is readily available to anyone who knows where to find it. People are getting fired all the time for Facebook pictures. In fact, this past semester, we had an angry school call our office, demanding to have a student teacher removed from their school because students had found pictures of her posing in a bikini on the internet. They didn't want someone like that in their school. This was mortifying to me because I couldn't imagine how awful that poor girl felt, but what I found to be even more mortifying was that Boss Lady immediately jumped on the web to search for the pics. After she found them, she immediately emailed the link to numerous friends and colleagues, exclaiming, "Can you believe how stupid this student teacher is?" The poor girl has probably had her career ruined before it even began and has now become a bit of a celebrity in our tiny little world.
Embarrassing pics of celebrities can be found everywhere. And when celebs cry to be left alone and go to great lengths to keep their lives private, people inevitably rebut, this is the price you pay to be famous. No one thinks twice about the damage they are doing to others when they gleefully snap away photos of drunk celebs, half-naked celebs, celebs fighting, celebs sans underwear, and so on and so on.
But what about those of us who aren't celebrities? What about those of us who didn't sign up for full disclosure of our personal lives? How do we keep our antics off the internet and hidden from the world? In a day and age where everyone has digital cameras and iPhones and camera phones and speedy internet access, can we expect our lives to truly remain private?
* I understand that my crazy antics will have to be brought under control, and probably the sooner the better. But regardless, my behavior does not give anyone permission to tag me in every embarrassing photo of me. Thank you very much.