What Happens On Spring Break…

Due to the vast possibilities, super speedy ones, provided by advancing forms of social media, what happens on spring break- no longer stays there. The New York Times article “Spring Break Gets Tamer as World Watches Online” and Fox News video “Are students toning down spring break behavior?” both reported that the behavior of college students during their spring break has recently been moderated because one simple, irresponsible action can be replicated and/or made public to multiple audiences at the speed of light. It has been noted that the “spring breakers” have been more polite and have been acting “calmer” as social media advanced, the difference being greatly noticed in contrast to spring break 2004.

As we all know, the economy has suffered majorly over the past few years. Getting hired for a job is not easy and ever more difficult when employers, school boards, etc. have access to your Facebook spring break photos! It is interesting to note that both the video and the article emphasize the dangers in the business and educational industries created for the youth by social media. Danah Boyd and Alice Marwick suggest that privacy has no set definition in their article “Social Steganography: Privacy In Networked Publics” The meaning of privacy differs per person and per social situation. The common “nightmare reader,” in other words the profile viewer that one is most “afraid” of usually includes parents and other family members, yet both sources argue that the college students have become more afraid of their future (many have already gotten used to their parents surveilling their online profiles.

The New York Times article quoted one student saying “At the beach yesterday, I would put my beer can down, out of the picture every time,” Ms. Sawyer said. “I do worry about Facebook. I just know I need a job eventually.” The video offers the idea that the motivation given to the youth created by the fear of their future employers may be a start to what need become the generation who saves the financial crisis.

The fact that teens have been moderating their behavior on Spring break, the break famous for it’s sense of irresponsibility, loudness, underage drinking, etc. really expands the effects of social media on society. As mentioned by the New York Times, “They are so afraid everyone is going to take their picture and put it online. Ten years ago people were doing filthy, filthy things, but it wasn’t posted on Facebook.”  It is so out-of-norm to break free from spring break expectations! The issue of privacy here comes into play. Boyd and Marwick made the valid point that “every teenager wants privacy.” Clearly, their point has been proven through the article and video, as much as college students enjoy their time on break, to hold back from certain behavior shows privacy remains of utmost importance. This is a more responsible concept than what they are given credit for.

It has become a reality that the portrayal of today’s public depends on the way they present (or expose) themselves on their social media profiles. These constructed profiles are a form of identity and expression.  Many teens love social networking, because they are enabled a way to express themselves in a social space in the comfort of their own computers (cellphones, laptops, etc.) Danah Boyd presented this idea in her article, “Why Youth Love Social Network Sites: The Role Of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life.” Even small details such as their favorite bands, songs, music, and movies are part of the “display of identity” as mentioned by Rebecca Willet in her article “As soon as you get on Bebo you just go mad.” Both Boyd and Willet both write about the construction of self through the use of online profiles. They also mention how the construction of profiles is often shaped in regards to an imaged audience who will be viewing the profile. The imagined viewers can never be certain, but must be assumed as the worst case scenario.  As we can see, the news article and video bring forth the idea that one’s reputation can be just as easily destructed as it is constructed.

Amy Adele Hasinoff presents the idea that perhaps certain forms of media that are considered inappropriate can be viewed in an alternative light. Hasinoff’s article “Sexting as media production: Re-thinking dominant ideas about teen girls and sexuality online” offers the perception of “inappropriate” forms of media (Such as sexting, nude images etc.) as a form of creativity and expression or “media production.” It is true that women are judged more then men when nude or “slutty” pictures are posted. Hasinoff’s ideology is of substance and is possibly a correct way to assess the age on evolving technology. On the other hand, the youth of today must subjugate themselves to the expectations of their future employers/bosses/college boards. Until a creative movement were to move forward, teens must continue to monitor their profile’s to succeed in their lives to come.

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1 Comment

  1. Caroline

     /  March 29, 2012

    As social media becomes utilized more by employers, I think it’s crucial for us as young adults to filter what we post, otherwise we are damaging our reputations and making a bad impression before even applying for jobs. I think the idea that we have made spring break more tame is only applicable online. Spring break hasn’t changed, but the way we share the memories has. We can take as many pictures as we want, and do crazy things, but the bottom line is those pictures cannot be posted online anymore without consequences. I remember seeing the MTV spring break specials on MTV when I was younger and being shocked at all the crazy stuff those college students were doing – but the difference between being on TV and facebook is key. When those students were shown on TV partying, their was no connection to their real identity and the video wasn’t going to pop up every time an employer searched for them. Today, however, when we post pictures on facebook, those pictures are directly connected to us, and paint a picture of who we are without us even saying anything. A picture is worth a thousand words, and employers can make up whatever thousand words they want about us when they see how hard we partied – whether we like it or not.

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