The Times has an article today about how young people are realizing they look like idiots on Facebook and are taking increased steps to protect their privacy online. But old people don't understand how to work the damn privacy machines.
A new Pew study cited in the Times shows that even as old people complain about their kids' oversharing, they're actually the ones who are letting it all hang out. "People ages 18 to 29 were more apt to monitor privacy settings than older adults are, and they more often delete comments or remove their names from photos so they cannot be identified."
There are two possible explanations for this: One, incriminating data is never posted by or about our nation's adult sector; two, adults have no idea what they're doing. It is number two. The majority of adult Facebook users—not to mention the world—would probably be better off if they protected their account so that only close friends can see how obsessed they are with their baby. Young people have grown up with Facebook; managing their virtual reputation is as natural as managing their real one. But many old people apparently don't really understand how or why you would let one group of people see your work information, and a much smaller group see your unending status updates about your bladder problem.
The greatest implication of this is that there might come a time when Facebook's privacy controls become so complex that all old users just give up completely. And then some intrepid New York Times reporter will label them the "tell-all generation" and write a trend piece about kids fretting that their moms' Facebook accounts will keep her from getting a job.