Subtitle: An Uncle’s paranoia.
My nephew- my pride and joy, favorite person in the world- is ten years old and unfortunately, he just joined Facebook. I myself was a longtime, fierce opponent of Facebook. But that was way back when, before Fair Folks, and the inevitability and necessity of social media in building a small business in today’s America. So, now a full 18 months or so in, I offer a few pointers for him in the hope that he doesn’t ruin his chance at a gubernatorial run in the early 2040’s.
1. Stay away from people who are holding fish in their profile picture.
2. Do not allow people to tag you in photos. Chances are, between now and the night of your election, a handful, maybe even dozens of unflattering, photographs (the bulk of them from your Freshman year at Yale) are going to be taken of you. With tags, your opponents will not even need to take the time to dig them up. Make them work to beat you.
3. Do not allow people to write on your wall. This is a recipe for disaster. If you choose to allow this, you can not break any hearts, which unluckily, is a big part of what has been coined “youth.”
4. When someone posts a picture of himself/herself as a child as their profile picture be wary. What this actually means psychologically, I haven’t studied at all. But, don’t do this. Although, since you are only ten years old, I guess for the time being, you don’t have much of a choice. But imagine how odd it would be if one of your friends were to post a picture of themselves as newborn? Weird, right?
5. Do not use profanity. For a little while there, maybe between the ages of eleven and twenty one, there is something awesome about an ugly tongue. It is a lie. The truth is, anytime a profanity is used, it is in the place of unknown word. It shows a deficit in vocabulary. You don’t want to show weakness in the digital world. Whatever goes out, stays out, forever and ever. Also, your grandmother is your Facebook friend. Never put anything up that you wouldn’t want your grandmother to read. Also, disregard any of the profanity your grandmother might post.
6. Try to stay away from posting song lyrics as your status updates. This is tricky, especially when you realize just how important it is to share the wise words of Bonnie Prince Billy with the world.
7. Do not tell people where you are. When people know you are in one place, they know you are not in another. When the cat is away, mice play. This lesson translates a million ways in the next twenty years of your life. This means don’t “check-in” places, and don’t allow others to “check” you in.
8. Never de-friend anyone. Remember, the opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference. Digitally, the best way to say goodbye, is to forget to say anything at all.
9. Understand that the pictures people post of themselves are not necessarily what they look like, at all.
10. No matter what, don’t give away your secrets. Remember, Facebook was created by a Chinese robot in order to infiltrate and destroy American minds, and soften our hands and bellies.
PS. When I was your age, the best advice I ever received (repeatedly, about a thousand times) was this, “Somebody, somewhere, right now is in the gym, practicing. And one day, the two of you are going to meet, and one person is going to win, and one person is going to lose. It’s your choice.” Get off the internet and work on your left!