Time travel does exist. But instead of hoping into a Delorean, and cranking up the speed to a whopping 88 miles an hour, or jumping into a hot tub full of half naked, 40-year-old men, all one has to do is log onto Facebook. The more I observe the online activity of friends and family on the social networking site, the more I realize they’ve somehow jumped through a portal back to high school, where the teenage days of immaturity without adult consequences ruled all.
I log into my FB page, and I see pictures of boozing, of more boozing, and, yes, even pictures of talking to a dog while boozing. To be fair, if these were college kids, who only had to worry about their parents finding out that they’re more partiers than students, then it’s not so bad (for non-health related issues anyway). But these pictures I see are from older people who are currently looking for employment.
It’s no secret that employers are constantly looking up their potential employees on social networking sites. With more resumes being sent out than ever, checking out a prospective hire’s FB gives the employer an unique look into a more personal side of the individual.
After I graduated college, I took down, and untagged myself, in every single picture that would imply any “out there” behavior. I’m not a booze hound, but I didn’t feel comfortable even leaving up a picture of me standing around with a beer bottle in my hand. Employers are so picky nowadays that you have to be careful of anything that you might imply about yourself. Plus, with the mustache that high school Jason sported back in the day, there’s no way I want to go back in time.
Yet, FB has turned into a loud high school lunchroom, where teenagers brag about their immature actions in hopes of becoming cool.
On my FB, I see guys posting status messages about the latest girl they “banged.” Or I see statuses that read like a drunken text message sent to the whole online world. There are those who brag about getting wasted every single night. And they’re in their mid-20s! You’re not underage anymore! What you are even bragging about? You bought liquor. You drank it. Big deal. The only people who see this as an accomplishment are high schoolers and college underclassmen, who view drinking as an adventure, because it’s illegal for them to do it. Yet, on FB, people my age appear very proud of this behavior.
Instead of traveling back in time to the ’80s like in Hot Tub Time Machine, I feel like I myself have jumped through a time portal into my late 80s, complaining about “Kids these days!” The sad truth is that these “kids” are my fellow peers.
It’s important for people to get smart and clean up their FB pages. Their adult accomplishments and responsibilities depend on it.
What truly worries me is that FB, used in the wrong way, can aide someone in ruining his or her own life on a very personal level.
Some people just refuse to believe that what they post on FB isn’t a big deal in real life situations. Take for example this interesting article on Philly.com about how FB is becoming a major factor in the legal world. Here’s how the piece put it:
Philadelphia lawyer Linda A. Kerns calls Facebook “a gold mine,” especially useful in child-custody issues.
She described one case in which a teen’s mother accused her ex of not adequately supervising their daughter. He disputed that – until the daughter posted photos on her Facebook page showing her and friends playing drinking games at her father’s house.
No matter the adult responsibilities anchoring people to the present, FB seems to be this time portal to high school that too many users willingly fall through. What worries me most is the one person in my life who should stay grounded in the present: My 24-year-old sister Claire.
Her and her boyfriend accidentally had a child a little over a year ago, and have since split up. They lived together for awhile, but now are under separate roofs. The dangerous thing in their situation, though, is that they don’t have a legal custody agreement. They take it upon themselves to decide on what days each one will get the baby.
This is where inappropriate behavior on FB can be so damming.
Like any time traveler on FB, Claire constantly posts photos of herself chugging beer, and wearing a face that shouts nothing but, “I’m wasted!” She’ll even post very provocative pictures of herself. Her statuses read the same way.
“Hey, like, I totally got, like, so wasted last night!” I have seen this posted on my sister’s page. People have a knack for bragging about their boozing and sexual advances on FB as though it were high school, when such things were expected to be bragged about, because it was all a new adventure. Claire fell back in time, and has refused to return and grow up. There are times I half expect her status to read, Claire: Going to the PROM tonight!!!
But in the present, in the real world, Claire is a mother. If the father of her child really wanted to fight for full custody, he could bring the case to court and win with ease. All his lawyer would have to do is show picture after picture of my sister with a beer bottle taped to her lips, and read out loud the status messages that imply Claire’s at the bar more often than she’s at home with her child.
Facebook, and all social networking sites (FB is simply the most popular), has become this immense outlet for immaturity. And because it’s “digital” immaturity, there are a lot of those who feel that there’s no real consequences from it. But FB is not high school. Posting a picture of yourself boozing isn’t going to get you sent to your room with a week void of television. No. It’s going to cost you employment opportunities, and, like in Claire’s case, potentially something much more important.
Growing up sucks a lot of the time. The busier I get, and the more bills that pile up, all I want to do is regress back to a simpler era in my life filled with less responsibility. The key is to regress in your own personal space (no, not Myspace), and not online where the wrong people can observe a very unflattering high school version of yourself.
It’s dangerous to travel back in time. The longer you stay there, the more you screw up your own present.