Don’t let this happen to you

The way we look at pictures has changed drastically in only the last few years. Does anyone remember photo albums? I’m not talking about ones you click through with your mouse, or set on slideshow, sit back, and watch. I mean those binders filled with plastic folders into which one painstakingly wiggled their 4×6’s, only to forget about a few days later and lose under the bed. Think about it, that is how the majority of our lives are documented, in good old fashioned photo albums. Your parents have them, and they are full of you running around in your diaper. Granted that at the time you thought yourself pretty bad because you refused to take a bath. Now, you can post volumes of yourself running down the halls of Simpson in only your panties, thinking you’re bad because you just chugged a forty. Times sure are changing. Who needs real pictures? They’re merely hidden in albums, only to be rediscovered when you need a reminder that yes, you once were younger, slimmer, and sexier. Still, I resist online sharing. To me, there is an intimacy in holding a photo that I don’t feel looking at my computer screen. There is a sense of ownership. Like yeah, I was there, I did that, it’s part of my life. It feels special to me, like something I should protect. Besides, when I have a picture I know what’s happening to it, who sees it, and who gets a copy. You ask: how can you argue with the ease of online photo sharing? I can’t. I realize the advantages of online galleries: they are simple, quick, and convenient. What an easy way to keep “in-touch” with old friends. Or is it? How many times have you poured over pictures of someone you barely knew? Anyone who has (and I’m guilty of this too) knows what results. Bring on the critique: oh my god, she got so fat! Is that her new boyfriend? She should have kept the last one. Damn he looks good; I should keep in touch with him. Are those his new friends? He got strange. We make judgments like these every day, so what’s the biggie? There’s no biggie, except that we’re often making these assessments based of pictures of people we hardly know, or people haven’t kept in touch with. Even if we do know the person, we’re judging his life on a few pictures he chose to post. In an online photography community, typically anyone can look at your pictures. Even if you turn on your privacy options, it’s not new news that university staff scours Facebook for naughty pictures they can use for evidence to bust mischievous students. So if you post pictures, be a conscious poster, keeping in mind that a large “community” has increasing access to your personal life. As for me, I’m going to go flip through some old photo albums, just for kicks.