Do I think I may know a thing or two about the plight of youth online...?

posted 14 Jul 2011, 08:44 by Jess Maher   [ updated 20 Jul 2011, 03:51 ]
Ok, so I have been ranting on and on about cyberbullying now for sometime... and I think I owe at least a few potential *invisible* confused "followers" a bit of an explanation right about now... See I am pretty quick thinking when I want to be, or rather when I'm feeling onto it... and I am almost myself what I would class a digital native. See I am from Adelaide, South Australia: I grew up there with my younger sister, Kate where my parents owned a modest house in the "foothills" of Adelaide City. They also owned and managed a small business (however, to this day my mother will tell you she just "did the books"!) called Adelaide Business Machines. They sold photocopiers and electric whiteboards that printed out what you drew on them (pretty flash for the late 80's for all ya young ones out there!) and guillotines, shredders etc you get the picture... anyway, my Dad had decided he wanted to buy this business, and so one day, without my Mum knowing at the time and with two young children and a mortgage already, Dad went and got himself 6 or 7 credit cards in the same day (again for all you young ones out there, this was in the 80's so banks were not electronic and manual transactions where saved till the end of the day) and went and bought this business. The next day, when the banks had worked out what he had done, my Dad I imagine would have received some pretty angry phone calls!

After my Dad died, I was in another world for a wee bit I guess, but I'm one of those people who in a hard situation, I am "all go-full speed ahead, give me the problem and I'll solve it". I think that's why I enjoy the challenge of the networking events integrated with the tweet streams.. its like the only time besides BBIM days that I really feel that both sides of my brain are engaged and I'm constantly left in this somewhat uncomfortable space around me while I guess, people try to size me up... I mean I say I guess as it has only been a rather recent development and one alongside a completely separated and different "social media" parallel for me as I am currently assumed by approx 500+ facebook users to be the administrator and "presence" of my Dad's RIP page, which is a complete headf*ck in itself!

So a few weeks ago, I went to a Social Media Club event and saw Nikki Kaye, Clare Curran oh man I suck with names, can we just say- I saw some politicians talking at this event and I remember looking at my wrist and thinking f*ck it, I'll just trust that maybe my Dad did know a thing or two about life, he had 30 years on me after all.. so I didn't get my "professional look" going (I had been sanding a wooden floor with a tiny edge sander earlier that day and all...) and I just rocked on in as is. Obviously, I do realize I can be a bit of a weirdo and this was a room of potentially the most concerned/ threatened group of people at the risk of me tainting anyone's reputation or image. The video above was from that evening as was this if I remember correctly... I felt frustrated at the lack of proactive or actionable resolutions available out there for parents. 

That night i made a post of how I felt I would have written about myself if I was writing as though I was a ghost writer for myself... a crazy concept in the first place right, so in the following few days I took the post down as James complained and complained... I uploaded this following that... Leaving the idea alone for a short while at the time, I also remember reading a research paper on the topic of information overload, a topic I am trying (somewhat frustratingly) to write on at the moment. The paper touched on the construct or idea of having ones loci, externally focused and dependent. I was trying to imagine myself writing about myself from the third person- I guess that's when I began to screw with my own mind... 

Since then, the time frame has seemed exponentially long and extended... And things went from curiosity, to confusion and despair, right through to embarrassment, angry, others infuriating disappointment & concern- I have a habit of taking things too far sometimes and this time, it was my own self that I screwed with... I'm not sure what motivated it, if I was confused about my Dad's death or was not fully accepting it before now... or maybe I jumped into some stupid idea and just got waaay way to carried away with it.. or there is always the possibility I am bonified insane and crazy.. all I know, is it seems I wanted to prove a point and in the process of doing it, totally screwed over myself and have managed to upset many of my loved ones as it turns out. I f*cked up and I am sorry. 

Confused and frustrated about the "growing up" fact of life and a process I had mistakenly felt I had already overcome, yet it turns out, instead of proving my point alone, I have managed to also make a complete fool of myself and not only embarrassed myself but my partner, family and loved ones. Twitter too easily can become ones thought stream, almost an unconscious rattling of ones self talk. However in my process of an ethnographic researcher, I am ashamed to say I think I managed to fool myself even... I think I literally in a frustrated state with iPad in hand, managed to convince myself that I was on a bit of a power trip! I have been putting myself under too much stress and after getting rather "tweet-happy" while also having conversation with James on a regular basis, I started to quiz and question some of the things I saw and came across while going through the process. 

New Zealand is a small and connected country, to ruin ones reputation on any of the social networking sites or services within the country is highly detrimental (hadn't considered what that means for me now)... but we also act as a adolescent country often and are accused of assuming we know what everyone else is thinking.. in this sense, we often are not even aware of our own innovation or ingenuity.