Going off the geek grid

A friend* of Monkey’s and mine recently dropped off the geek grid for a time, getting rid of facebook, closing down livejournal, and the like.  She’s come back now, which is great, but I found while she was gone I was envious of her.  There are days I would love to just shut everything down, kill my Internet footprint, and become a total Luddite.  I’m not alone – my friends who are the biggest geeks (I mean the ones who build there own computers) have done a massive 180 in the past few years.  Where before they shot for ‘first name, first page’ status (typing in just their first name would pull up their webpage on the first page of Google rankings), now they are impossible to find.  It’s not a coincidence that those who pioneered the Internet are now quietly in the background.  People are losing out on jobs and college placements because of idiotic stuff they post – even older folks who started their careers before the popularity boom of the Internet are finding old, scanned in photos of their younger days causing them issues.

Baby Alex is the first generation to truly be born into the Internet.  While I was 18 when I first showed up on rankings (Google wasn’t even invented then, we searched on Yahoo, and in a Netscape browser for goodness sakes!), his photos were indexed on the web within hours of his birth.  He has literally grown up on technology, from Skype to Picassa to his own Youtube channel. I worry that in a few years he’ll want to go off the grid, and will be unable to.  I worry that I am making decisions for him unfairly – putting him out there without his consent.  I guess all I can do is what I have been doing – celebrate him in my own geeky way, and try to keep him safe.




*I say friend in a weird air-quotey way, because while we are friendly with her, we have never met each other – such is the way of the Internet