This Generation Will Be Self-Documenting

Around here, my youngest started the trend but I’m sure that it’s everywhere.  On special days and occasions, she’ll change her profile picture on Facebook to reflect what’s going on.  So, for Father’s Day, she changed it to a picture of her and me.  Once she does it, it snowballs so that the whole family is involved.

I figured to jump in and post a picture of my dad.  This led to frustration on my part though.  As it turns out, I didn’t have a digital image to use.  But, I remembered that we had a wedding picture in the hallway so I took my iPad2 and took a picture, cropped it and used it.  As an aside, the iPad2 has a crappy camera.  My Samsung phone was charging – I should have used that.  Oh well – next year.

It’s interesting how picture taking has changed over the years.  In the good ol’ days, taking pictures was expensive.  You had to buy the film for your expensive camera, and then take it to be developed, which actually could take a few days.  Then, you excitedly got home and hoped that you had some images that were actually good enough to use.  Some were good enough to be posted on walls; some to photo albums and the rest discarded.

As it turned out, my dad hated to get his picture taken, but fortunately, he had no alternative at our wedding.

But thinking back on this Father’s Day, there are pictures that I wish I had.  He was an awesome baseball pitcher.  I have vivid memories of playing catch with him in the side yard, 60 feet, 60 inches (more or less) away.  Catching was difficult.  First of all, he was left-handed which makes a significant difference when you’re a little kid.  Secondly, he could throw a curve that was like a ball falling off a table.  You’d reach for it here and it would hit you a metre away from where you thought.  That would have made for a fabulous Doug-Blooper reel.

Lots of negative things have been said about kids, cell phones, digital cameras, etc.  Let’s not overlook the fact that they have the power to document everything about their lives.  They have the online abilities to share and comment on it.  They will have the ability to keep it forever.  What they need are the ethics and skills to make intelligent decisions about what is shareworthy and what should just be discarded.

It can result in a mix of good and bad at times but it does reinforced the notion that you should maintain an eye on your digital presence.  Setting a Google Alert to see if you’re mentioned and other techniques can be helpful.

One way of monitoring this is to use IFTTT and the rules that it affords.  For example, if you’re concerned about being tagged on Facebook, run this rule and copy those images to your own home – like your Dropbox account.  You’ll know almost immediately if something has been posted.

Going forward should be a partnership with education.  Students have the tools; education can supply the ethics and common sense.

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