Growing up is hard. But what about growing up in the digital age?
Do social networks like Facebook help a person’s coming of age journey?
It’s easy to think that they do. “Expressing” yourself can simply mean posting a Facebook status, photo or sending out a tweet. Easy, right?
But not so fast. The era of instant broadcasting also means that everything is public. And searchable.
The blunders that come hand in hand with growing up are going to live on the Internet forever, essentially making the moratorium for youth almost non-existent.
How can you “find” yourself or even “create” yourself, when the possibility of a potential employer digging up your youth on the web will become a reality ten years from now?
Sherry Turkle, author of Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, says the way information flows in the digital age is not the only problem.
Online chatter doesn’t translate to meaningful conversations
Turkle says the blips of information we choose to broadcast through social media–no matter how embarrassing or absurd they may be–are still edited versions of ourselves.
The Internet allows us to put on a persona that may not wholly reflect who we are in real life. And Turkle says these pseudo-conversations help perpetuate our “edited” selves.
Turkle says this is not helpful for someone who is coming of age.
But at the same time, the speed and openness in how we exchange information these days allow us to connect with like minds, create an outlet for a voice, and peek into different worlds.
“Our conversations with each other help us have conversations with ourselves…and self-reflection is the bedrock of development,” she says during a TED Talk.
Where does self-reflection fit in the world of retweets and “likes”? Where all online activity seem to be built on an “I share, therefore I am” mentality?
Turkle says the constant sharing is deceiving, especially for someone growing up in the digital age.
Check out our video on identities in the digital age and tell us what you think.