Journal: News & Comment

Friday, June 30, 2006
# 3:46:00 PM:

Live notes: Susan Mernit of Yahoo! Personals at Gnomedex

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Sex and relationships in geekland at Gnomedex. A topic that might have made some people uncomfortable, but the discussion was fascinating, and even Chris Pirillo's mom was part of the conversation...

  • Every geek has a secret subset of stuff they read or write that's related to sex. Often that's a secret.
  • Personas and identity as a freedom to be able to talk about issues they wouldn't otherwise.
  • The average sex blogger isn't doing anything non-sex bloggers don't do—they just admit it.
  • What can we learn from these revelations?
  • Remember that the stuff you post never goes away: Google may not be your friend.
  • Your family and friends and co-workers may have very different opinions about what's appropriate to put online.
  • It's not just sex, it's relationships. There's mental illness, moral opinions, political feelings.
  • You don't know who's reading, but don't forget the power of communities that you might not even know you have built.
  • In print we're also more successful, prettier, and taller than in real life.
  • How much can we believe: what's fictional, what's not?
  • How do these bloggers and others protect themselves and their identities as they wish?
  • Has this conversation made everyone uncomfortable?
  • Not a lot of people cross their identities over from the personal ads into blogs and Flickr streams.
  • Does the current generation (the "Survey Generation") understand that all the information they put out will stay there, and that they might not like that as they get older?
  • In the future you might not know when you're being recorded.
  • Society will need to evolve to accommodate that.
  • "I was 14 and I did dumb 14 year old things."
  • It's not a matter of educating young people that the web has a long memory—it's a cultural difference.
  • A lot of them do understand it, and they don't care that much.
  • And maybe we shouldn't care so much.
  • Try to think differently: don't think it's just people under 25. That's a lie. Your friends and family and colleagues and parents are the people who are doing this too.
  • This is a profound shift in communication into the power of individual voices about all sorts of topics.


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