Nowadays it is almost impossible to find someone who isn’t on Facebook. Take me for example, I have every member of my family including my 65 year old grandmother on it, I also have many of my friends parents and a few of my old high school teachers. This may have seemed strange 8 years ago when Facebook was only just finding its feet and was vastly only used by students, this is no longer the case.
Everyone is now discovering the freedom the Internet gives them. Freedom some of us seem to be forgetting can be seen by billions of people around the world.
When it comes to us gays, at an age where one is still in the closet, it can be hard to hide your identity when there are so many outlets for experimentation. When I was 15 I had my first boyfriend. He was the same age as me and also in the closet, which made it difficult for both of us. We both wanted to be in a relationship but neither of us was ready to come out, this led to a number of sneaky forms of communication, we only talked about our romantic entanglement over Facebook chat, our pictures on Facebook were never of just the two of us, and we arranged to see each other in places we knew we couldn’t get caught. We thought we had been so smart, until, for him it all fell apart. People at his school had seen us checking on Facebook together, they had seen all our pictures and one afternoon, we uploaded a picture of us in his room and the cat almost came out of the bag.
Because we attended different high schools, my friends never really clocked on to the possibility that I was gay. He on the other hand, was well and truly outed. His peers forced him out of the closet because we had forgotten how accessible our relationship was to view over Facebook. Because we were so young at the time, he was subjected to bullying from some of his peers, and our relationship fell apart because of it. This is the danger of Facebook, everybody is told everything about you.
It can seem like we are the only people in the world who can see what we post on our blogs and social networking sites, but in actual fact, if privacy settings are not correctly utilized, anybody can see it.
In todays society we are told to protect our identity by locking away our passports, keeping our drivers licenses safe and covering our pin numbers at cash machines, yet we practically upload our entire identity onto our Facebook. Perhaps it is time for us, as a society to think about what we want other people to see and how we want our Facebook to represent us, because sometimes it can cause a problem.