Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Letter in response to "Say Everything" -- NY Magazine

Below is a letter I wrote in response to the article at bottom (which was never published). Sort of the ultimate in blogging. It's a bit of the extreme in the on-line world, but maybe a hint of the future. Viz:
I enjoyed the article about the seeming irreverence for privacy displayed by young people using the Internet. The article frequently alludes to what will happen in the future when we can mine and search for all the information young people are now posting. One can imagine historians of the future combing through the vast trove of past postings on the web, looking for subtle patterns and connections between individuals that weren't at all apparent in the present. However, it is one thing for historical analysis to turn up interesting facts someone left behind about himself; it is another for it to turn up facts about someone else. In particular, what will happen with young kids posting pictures on the web of their friends in all sorts of compromising situations? Beyond the extreme case alluded to in the article of salacious images posted without consent, what are we to make of the seemingly innocent practice of party pictures, snapped in instant but posted on the web for eternity. The kids posting this information are of course unaware of the potential long-term harm they are doing to others. New rules need to be developed governing what can and can't be posted about others without their consent.

Say Everything
By Emily Nussbaum
February 12, 2007 issue of New York Magazine
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.
Yeah, I am naked on the Internet," says Kitty Ostapowicz, laughing. "But I've always said I wouldn't ever put up anything I wouldn't want my mother to see."
She hands me a Bud Lite. Kitty, 26, is a bartender at Kabin in the East Village, and she is frankly adorable, with bright-red hair, a button nose, and pretty features. She knows it, too: Kitty tells me that she used to participate in "ratings communities," like "nonuglies," where people would post photos to be judged by strangers. She has a MySpace page and a Livejournal. And she tells me that the Internet brought her to New York, when a friend she met in a chat room introduced her to his Website, which linked to his friends, one of whom was a photographer. Kitty posed for that photographer in Buffalo, where she grew up, then followed him to New York. "Pretty much just wanted a change," she says. "A drastic, drastic change."...