Facebook: Timeline

Facebook revealed a new way to archive your life today during Facebook F8. You can read about it here from USA Today.

The basics are that soon you’ll be able to share your life from birth archived by years in what Facebook calls a Timeline. The years will highlight what Facebook deems important events from that year. Which means there is no longer a time before Facebook and the age 13 consent goes out the window, which according to this article in Science Daily, it may already be irrelevant because about 7.5 million users are younger than 13.

Is the next step parents transferring the content about their child’s birth, first steps, etc. to the child’s profile?

While the theory is you will have control over your timeline, if you are really adding things since birth and your friends are adding content items of you since birth, how much control do you really have?

” You can feature items in your Timeline, and add or remove items,” states this Gizmodo article on Facebook F8 announcements. “Control of who sees an item in your timeline is also available. This is an important step to assure that Facebook’s recent subscription feature doesn’t expose a users private photos with total strangers. So expect to start spending hours fine tuning your Facebook life which is exactly what Facebook wants. You spending hours and hours adjusting your online history for your friends.”

I don’t have hours and hours to add more than 20 years of content, nor do I want others adding that content for me. I already approve photos and posts before they’re public. However, my concern isn’t so much about me as it is those who have had Facebook since they were 13.

All of those high school photos, college photos, poor choices, bad taste status updates are archived forever. How will that affect their future?

Civility and Chivalry

Image from: festivalphoto.net

This article from USA Today concerns me. I’ve seen examples of this behavior on other college campuses, in office lunch rooms and most recently at a bar and on a plane.

I’m not saying we need to revert back to men holding doors open for women or a return of the Knight’s Code, but instead going back to generally being polite to each other.

You won’t offend my sensibilities by launching into an expletive laden rant (within reason), but then again I worked in a newsroom. You will, however, offend me when you jump in front of me in line or pull a chair from the table I’m sitting at without asking.

As for where this attitude stemmed from, George Mason University lecturer Leslie Morton, quoted the USA Today article nails it. “People don’t take time to think about consequences. Who am I hurting? Will this be embarrassing?”

The person you are hurting is likely not you and if you are acting that way, you likely won’t be embarrassed, but someone else might. It isn’t about you.

A Good, Timeless Read

Photo from: Turning Trix, Trix and her kids
Don’t get me wrong, I love teen fiction as much as the next 20-something girl. I’ve read the Gossip Girl series and before that, the Baby Sitter’s Club and Sweet Valley Twins and Sweet Valley High, but there is something about the Original Nancy Drew series that is timeless, classic and always appealing. No matter my age or current life position.

As this USA Today article points out, it might be because the books “had a thriller quality that’s harder to achieve in modern settings.” Or because it’s an opportunity to live vicariously as a brazen girl of the past, a time period we are moving away from with frightening speed (good or bad, at the moment is not the point).

To be honest, I didn’t know the books were penned by a man at a “fiction factory” that also produced the Hardy Boys and Bobsey Twins. But it doesn’t matter to me where the books originated as much as how much I love them and all of the memories associated with lazy summer days in the tree or hammock reading though one book at a time.

You may be wondering how this post relates to PR and writing in general, it is in this: don’t try to jazz up or modernize a classic without thinking about the effect on the brand.

There are new Nancy Drew books where she wears jeans and uses a cell phone, but I can read modern girl detective stories in several other teen series. I want Nancy Drew to stay the classy gal she was 80 years ago when my grandmother read the books. It’s a connection to my past and the past in general that could be completely lost with modernization. Making the books hip tramps on my memories of who Nancy Drew is and what she represented to me.

Scary Trend: Teacher-on-Teacher Bullying

Photo from: Third Movement Seminars & Training

A tweet this week from Richard Laermer citing an article from USA Today, “A new trend comes to light every single day. Today’s: Teacher-on-teacher bullying,” really concerned me, especially in light of the recent bullying case in South Hadley, Massachusetts.

While the case referenced above involves teen on teen bullying, bullies come in all shapes, sizes and unfortunately ages.

As a Millennial, I’m used to be competitive and being a perfectionist for good or bad. However, I would never bully someone to gain an advantage.

I’m sure some of the teachers I had growing up were talked to by the principle or other teachers and may have even been bullied, but none of this occurred in front of me or my classmates that I can recall. I think that’s the key point.

Belittling someone in front the class is the absolute worse thing that can happen to a teacher. It undermines their authority and shows the students this type of behavior is acceptable, which to reiterate, it is not.

I am not suggesting schools and districts implement an expensive training program to combat Teacher-on-Teacher bullying. I would suggest that schools make sure to educate (many already do an excellent job) staff on the various forms of bullying and give them the resources for reporting not just the bullying of the students, but of the faculty as well.