Her page, arrested in those golden years before anybody cared how many likes your profile picture had, was the picture of adolescence: I smiled when I saw the wall posts about biology homework, the album titled “January!!” In 2008, she had attended Homecoming and a Quidditch Club Meeting.
When Facebook expanded its gender options early this February, many users were finally able to represent themselves authentically to the online community. The popular social network, which had previously required users to list themselves as either male or female, added a new “custom” gender option to accommodate individuals who do not identify with the traditional gender binary.
In the “About Us” section of their website, the creators of theSkimm proclaim: “We see ourselves as a part of a generation where women are out-earning men in paychecks and degrees. We’ve grabbed our seats at the table, now it’s time to Skimm to the head.” I researched the daily newsletter after it was recommended to me as something “super helpful” by my brother’s wealthy, educated girlfriend who works in an art gallery.
I’m sitting on one of the loveseats in the Starbucks on Nassau Street, weirdly conscious of my calves sticking to the cold leather seat covers, experiencing what I imagine only certain paparazzi have felt at the peaks of their careers. The strangeness of spending years seeing someone in two dimensions, only to have them sitting across from you, alive and fidgeting. Lorena Grundy gestures at my coffee cup.
Daily, we take for granted something revolutionary: we can instantaneously update thousands of people on any information we desire to share. Inherent in that great power, however, is the even greater risk of potential embarrassment, ranging anywhere from awkward tweenage photos to your creepy uncle commenting on every status.
Our Photo Booth binges are etched with permanent pixels in ways my pubescent voice-cracks will never be. Which is terrifying. So I exhausted hours upon hours to bury three years of my life in Mark Zuckerberg’s treasure chest of secrets, but only after staring down each, one by one, and casting it into the dark anonymity of “untagged.”
Even today, going back to the sites of the 1990s is a blast from the past. The primitive web design is frankly laughable, though it’s like unfairly comparing cave art to Rembrandt. Websites from the 90’s aren’t bad per se, they simply lack the basic modicums of user-friendliness and aesthetics that we’ve grown used to.