The Kids Are On Facebook Too

The kids are on Facebook too.

True story. Javier, an executive at a manufacturing company had gone to a friends’ holiday party. Pictures were taken of him in funny, but somewhat inappropriate poses. Javier had a great time, but received a surprise a couple of days later when his two teenage daughters began commenting on those photos of him. His friend had uploaded them to Facebook. Needless to say, he was mortified that his girls saw photos of him that were pretty embarrassing. What made it worse is that their friends were commenting on those pictures, which meant that his teenaged daughters’ friends and his other family members were all able to see them.

I have often thought of integrity as being the same with yourself as when everyone else is around. Having one’s public self and private self as being integrated. But in this age of instant electronic communication, integrity now has an indefinite timeline. The decisions of a moment (Javier posing at a holiday party for a pic snapped at 1/60th of a second) now have long-lasting and far-reaching effects.

I don’t think many consider this truth. That is, “the kids are on Facebook too.” And if your children (or nephews or students) aren’t on yet, in about ten to fifteen years, they will be on Facebook or some other social media equivalent. And they will see what kind of person we are by the digital footprint we are leaving behind. 

This goes way beyond just silly candids. This speaks to the articles we post, the tweets we compose, and yes, the drunken pictures in scantily clad clothing for which we so readily pose.

I know what you’re thinking, “That’s why I tell people not to take my picture!” I suppose the next time Javier goes to the party he could insist that everybody leaves their coats and smartphones at the door. But really? Is that the solution? Mitt Romney shot himself in the foot politically by saying one thing to all of America and another thing to a group of wealthy donors in what he thought was a closed-door dinner. But a waiter had a smartphone with recording capabilities. 

I think the bigger and better solution in this digital age is to think about what you want generations behind you to know of the person you are. So, the next time your lift you iPhone to take that pic of you with the shower curtain behind you, remember that in time your children and all their friends will be able to appreciate that same image. And the next time you choose to Laugh Your Donkey Off, remember that someone who will eventually make a decision whether or not to hire you will be exposed to your poor linguistic choices.

The kids are on Facebook too. And if not yet, they will be.


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