My senior year of college, I wrote an essay about how strange it seemed to me that my sister lived for the weekends, practically fetishized Saturday nights. How sad for her, I thought. That will never be me, I thought. Things will be better, more perfect for me, I thought. Last night I thought about deleting it, ashamed of my thought process back then, only two years ago, but I didn’t. Those posts, like the ones about my obsession with a bony clavicle (the remnants of life as a dancer, a gymnast) or that boy I never wanted to admit broke my heart, stay up as a reminder that growth and adulthood are constantly evolving processes. The rewards are minimal; the detriment is significant. But when the rewards arrive, even bits and pieces, the feeling of accomplishment is euphoric, and then blissfully unnerving.
I especially love Britt’s last line to describe the feeling that comes with growing up: “euphoric, and then blissfully unnerving.”
Often, younger users — the so-called “digital natives” who have roamed the Web for as long as they can remember — are less worried than older people about their privacy online.
But it’s not because they don’t care about protecting their information. In many cases, experts say, it’s because they understand how to control it better than older users. To them, it’s easy to pick and choose what to share, how to share it and with whom.
“I don’t really see the big deal in it,” said Adam Britten, 20, a Syracuse University junior currently studying in London. “We know how to operate the system.”
“I have been struck […] by the discord between people’s Facebook lives and what they say in private. On Facebook they have been on an amazing vacation to exotic beaches. In person they confess that the vacation was a desperate attempt to save a marraige. On Facebook they have been to gliteratee tech conferences. In person they confess they haven’t been able to sleep for months, and are on anti-anxiety medication from the stress of financial pressures on their company. It is a strange case of schadenfreude for me to hear this, knowing that I had been jealous of their beach time and glamor. What’s interesting is that this feel-bad Facebook effect seems to come from a distinct source: not-so-close Facebook friends.”—
Being a new girl here is a lot to process. Your dopamine receptors are haywire from so much of what feels like the right kind of attention and you preen out of paranoia. Sometimes you tap-dance about books, music, movies, food and politics for complete strangers. For hours. You mind-meld with people you hope to never see again because they scare you a little. You get sick from the options and the sleep deprivation and the vodka. Your friends from home tell you you’ve changed and you’re convinced that envy’s poisoned their flabby, docile minds. If you’re lucky, you snap out of it. I snapped out of it when I became responsible for a gaggle of interns. It was like being the counselor at a summer camp run by a cult.
This new breed was a misfit clique that blogged, researched, fact-checked, ferried samples, lugged equipment and got bylines for their trouble. They held down second jobs in restaurants, bars, hair salons and temp offices and were rewarded with glossy titles the longer they stayed. They worked hard, raged hard and accessorized aggressively. Earrings became blowfish-big to draw attention and ward off predators. Their hungriest, slipperiest years were terrifying to behold. The ones who grew up in New York seemed to take it all in stride and precociously had a sense of their breaking point and breezily steered well clear of it. The transplants that had to build work, friendship and love from scratch all went a bit nuts and cannibalized themselves and others.