As I began to read, It’s Complicated, by Danah Boyd, I couldn’t help but reflect my online identity as a teenager. Freshman year of high school marked the prime years of Myspace; the first platform where HTML became an everyday accessory, with the ability to morph a simple background into a personal profile ready for the best friends, class hotties, and fellow classmates, to discover, learn, and explorer users individual style. It was required to have your best friends on your top friends list, which was a grading scale of friendships, aka a major entity of everyday friendships. Although, most of the my personal happenings on this site stayed between friends, there were still instances where my mother believed it crossed the age appropriate boundary. There was one situation that still radiates with me. I was a very naïve user; one evening, I had read a post on my grandmother’s computer located in the back room of her house. The post described a story of a young women who was abused and raped, and if it was not reposted then that same man would come find me and do the same, as if being in closed in wood paneled dark room wasn’t frightening enough, now sitting in my conscious I am sensing a huge man searching to steal me, so naturally I repost. My mother, friends with me on Myspace, found the post to be extremely inappropriate and disgusting, she could not understand why I would share that under my name. Within 24 hours of the repost, Myspace account was deactivated. My mother wanted me to be able to express myself on the Internet, but she believed the site to be having a negative effect on me. At the time, I believed she was just being unfair, she did not understand my fear in the moment, and I had no problem with deleting the post, but it had crossed the line for her as a parent and my superior authority figure.
Thinking back on this now I can see why she responded the way I did, however in my thirteen year old mind, I felt completely misunderstood, like how could she not understand why I was scared? It felt as though I had no option and was almost forced in a way to repost this story placed out there only to scare users just like myself. Boyd discusses some of the social cost of posting, and often times during adolescence these cost can be thrown of balance. It is difficult enough time, but not this platform a platform has been added to further show fellow classmates and friends just how “cool” you are. Although, that repost was not out of coolness, I was afraid, actually afraid of what could happen, what if somehow they could find me over the Internet, I felt extremely vulnerable all because I stumbled upon a wildly terrifying story. It was a very complicated situation, and relates to some of the experiences Boyd uses to show how technology is in some ways redefining, and further muddling the already confusing years of adolescence. Have any of you had a similar experience with a parent or authority figure when you first were given the ropes to social media?