Posted by: Margo Z
Topic: So many people are using technology to capture their lives – from camera phones to YouTube, MySpace, and Facebook – that the idea of living a “private life” is changing. What impact do you think this will have on relationships in the future?
Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and signing onto AOL cost $5.95 an hour, I found myself divorced and dumped back onto the dating scene for the first time in over a decade. Trolling for potential mates online was the brave new world back then. I was living alone in an urban area and determined to take all possible safety precautions. I got a nonpublished number and installed a caller I.D. blocker on my phone. Anyone I met online or through a newspaper personal got ONLY my first name until I'd actually had a date with them and satisfied myself they weren't a serial killer. If I decided to go out with them a second time, they got my last name and home phone number. Everyone I dated respected those boundaries and seemingly had no problem with them.
Except for this one guy... a self-professed geek extraordinaire... who had gleaned enough bits and pieces of information about me from our initial phone call that he was able to do a World Wide Web search (did Google even exist back then?) and unearth not only my last name but an accounting of my career accomplishments to date. He wouldn't accept "I'd rather not give out my full contact information until we meet and see if we like each other" for an answer. In his mind, I'd thrown down the gauntlet. Imagine my horror when we sat down for coffee and he proceeded to crow triumphantly that he had broken through my ridiculous privacy barrier, easily, quickly, and without my knowledge.
Needless to say, this wasn't a romance that blossomed. I was offended, dismayed, and frankly a bit shaken up by the experience. I was like: what is this guy's problem? Why would he refuse to respect my wishes? Did he think I would be so impressed at his online sleuthing skills that I'd fall madly in love on the first date?
Fast forward ten plus years. Now... when I see the kinds of things the "kids" out there are posting, my first thought is, "Where the hell are their parents?!" The second thing I think is, do they truly not realize the kind of danger they are exposing themselves to from predators? Not to mention all the merriment that would ensue if their online antics were seen by a potential employer or college admissions officer.
And the third thing I think is... damn, grrrl. You are gettin' OLD!