The mother of young man who I hope will be in a position to (legally) buy me a pint around the time of my 50th birthday has set up a nice blog called Tir na nÓg. It is full of nice musings on things maternal and political.
The young man is called Oisin. He didn’t vote in the last election and will probably not care about elections, information quality or politics until around the next change of government (which given the Irish skill at these things could be further away than we’d like or closer than we think – all is vapour at the moment).
Apparently he is a bit bigger now than he was when I saw him last – but not quite old enough to appreciate the world of blogging. Maybe in years to come he will be able to look at the very nice things that his mother has written about him and the things she got worked up about as a result of his arrival. Certainly he will probably have a nervous compulsion to leave his socks and shoes on when courting young ladies in years to come given the prominence his foot has had on this blog and elsewhere.
That thought makes me consider for a moment what the dreaded ‘meeting of the parents’ will be like for the off-spring of the Web2.0/bebo/myspace/bloggerama generation. My parents had photographs and Super8 8mm silent movies of me. Arrgh. My wife loved them…. some scenes are still referred to the best part of a decade after she saw them first. However the meeting had to take place. The good plates had to come out. LOTS of wine had to be drunk. Thus it has happened since the dawn of time, since Ug brought Uggina to meet his parents and they dragged out the really embarrassing part of the cavewall to look at.
Fast forward 20+ years.. Will Oisin’s mother and girlfriend simply swap Flickr links, the mother’s to Oisin’s antics pre-University, the girlfriends to his antics at University, in particular that drunken night when..?
How will the poor lad run interference and filter the images that are presented to his significant other by his significant mother?
In theory the digital image can last for next to infinity. In practice it is prone to the failure of hard-drives, the collapse of businesses, the destruction of servers etc. Will Oisin be tempted, around the age of 17, to unleash a virus to seek out and delete images and video of him from the world’s computers (a bit like Doctor Who did – a reference the lad’s parents will appreciate.)?
Perhaps in some proactive and technology friendly homes this trend is already starting. Perhaps another of life’s embarrassing but necessary rituals is falling prey to the romance with technology?
I commend Oisin’s parents for avoiding the bebo-holic rush to put the minutiae of their lives and the life of their child on-line. Such people worry me to the point of my wanting to have their access to any technology more advanced than a wax tablet and stylus severly curtailed. To paraphrase an Audi advert – Offspring, Dork, Technic.
Yes, he may have his footprints (literally) all over the blogosphere before his first birthday but, much like any good superhero, nobody knows Oisin’s face.