(Simulcast at secretdead.blogspot.com.)

It's been a while since I read a piece that split me down the middle. Such was the case with Emily Nussbaum's "Say Everything," in this week's
New York magazine. Nussbaum details what she calls the new generation gap: kids, teenagers and 20somethings who think nothing of baring it all online (sometimes literally), and their horrified elders who think armies of anonymous perverts are ready to pounce. This gap, Nussbaum writes, may have been years in the making:
It’s hard to pinpoint when the change began. Was it 1992, the first season of The Real World? (Or maybe the third season, when cast members began to play to the cameras? Or the seventh, at which point the seven strangers were so media-savvy there was little difference between their being totally self-conscious and utterly unself-conscious?) Or you could peg the true beginning as that primal national drama of the Paris Hilton sex tape, those strange weeks in 2004 when what initially struck me as a genuine and indelible humiliation—the kind of thing that lost former Miss America Vanessa Williams her crown twenty years earlier—transformed, in a matter of days, from a shocker into no big deal, and then into just another piece of publicity, and then into a kind of power.
I'm torn because on one hand, I keep a blog. Thus, baring part of myself to the three (maybe four, if you count Brian Hickey) people who read this blog. And I read a lot of blogs, mostly to get to know other people. I'll never forget the strange sensation at Bouchercon '05 when I sat in the hotel bar, surrounded by people I knew well but had never actually met. And just last week, Daniel Hatadi launched the very cool Crimespace, meant as an online meeting place of people who dig crime and mystery. It's like a Bouchercon without the airfare.

In other words: I think the internets is cool.

On the other hand, as a parent, I can understand the whole "horrified" thing. I never post photos of my son Parker or daughter Sarah online. I rarely discuss my family or day job here (at least, in any real detail). In fact, it's a pretty narrow focus here at Secret Dead Blog: books, writing, and other assorted geekery. There is a photo of me in the upper left-hand corner. And if you check my profile page, you know my age, astrological sign, gender, and weird affinity for
RoboCop. But that's it. Only a tiny sliver of ol' Swierczy. Sharing anything more feels... well, weird.

So there you have it. I'm straddling the new generation gap like a drunk Philly cop on a Sybian.

What about you guys? Which side of the gap do you fall?

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Comment by Jay Stringer on August 8, 2007 at 9:10am
Im a contradiction when it comes to the net. I've been on it for around ten years now, i suppose. I use it everyday and can't remember what life was like without it. I also keep about four different blogs and shamelessley put my name wherever i can.
YET i'm very untrusting and cynical of the whole thing. I hate livejournal, and the way so many people i know seem to do all their emoting online. If they want to argue? they do it online. They want to get advice or counsil? online.
I still find it a bit wierd.
Comment by Carolyn Rogers on March 14, 2007 at 10:42am
I have teenagers who are active online, my son moreso than his older sister. They are 15 and 17. I don't monitor either one's internet activities but we talk about everything. And of course as I point out to them I know we say that and that they don't share everything with me. Heck, I am their MOM. That is just common sense. But, I do the best I can between letting them enjoy their friends and freedom online and being aware of the dangers of it as well. It is not anything that can be talked about once and left from then on but that is true of everything concerning teenagers. Gotta stay on top of things with them without them completely realizing it, even though they know it is a possibility. I actually put their picture here on my main page, though in other forums like myspace (which I avoid) or livejournal (where I keep all posts locked) I wouldn't. Maybe I am too trusting of crime writers...
Comment by Paul Guyot on March 14, 2007 at 1:13am
I usually fall to the side by the men's cargo pants and tee's.

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