When I was a kid, people used to say we lived in a fast-paced world. Phones had click lines, documents could be faxed, and homework could be done on computers. Clearly, that all seems quite leisurely now. Cranky, 14, and Whiny, 13, are all about social media--and that’s fine. They 'friended' me and I monitor their activity, trolling their Facebook pages every now and then--everything is fine. Let me rephrase: I thought everything was fine.
What I hadn’t considered was this sort of planned obsolescence of social media sites. As an adult, Facebook is fine. I can see Jimmy’s pictures from his fly-fishing trip or Katie’s daughter’s first day of school and that’s all I really need. Frankly, it’s more than I need.
Teenagers, however, need something else: privacy. There’s the rub. How do you achieve privacy in the most public forum the world has ever known? The answer is simple: Like a criminal on the lam, you relocate.
I started to notice that Cranky’s Facebook page had seemed to stagnate. Photos of friends and parties that once were updated hourly, stayed the same for weeks--even months. On a side note: Were she truly diabolical, she would have continued to maintain the decoy page with innocuous updates and I would have never been the wiser. Just as I was visiting her page for the umpteenth time, thinking, Huh, still the same photos of the pool party?, I got a text from a much hipper friend with older daughters: Cranky just tweeted the cutest picture from homecoming.
What? Cranky tweets? Of course, she tweets. Not only does she tweet, she has hundreds of followers—hundreds more than I do, might I add—so this is new. I have to rise to the occasion. I request to follow her on twitter (my request is listed as ‘pending,’ by the way). But don’t you see? It’s already too late. The fugitive spotted a suspicious van lurking outside his hotel room, and like a shot, he is gone in the night. I get a phone call from my best friend: Why won’t Cranky let me follow her on Instagram?
What the...? Now it’s Instagram, next it’s Pinterest. I once I get a lead and pick up on the scent, the trail goes cold. I feel like Keanu Reeves chasing Patrick Swayze from beach to beach in Point Break. Should I bother? Maybe it’s better to be blissfully unaware. Could somebody create a social media site that only teenagers know about? Maybe someone already has. In a way, the thought is almost a relief.