New York Magazine has a long, but very interesting article today called "Say Everything." The profiles of a few everyday teens focus on their use of the Internet to display, define, and enhance their identity. Most adolescents today combine a vast array of Internet tools to keep up with friends (email, IM, MySpace, Friendster), upload pictures (PhotoBucket, Flickr), write journal entries (Blogger, LiveJournal), and watch videos from others or upload their own (YouTube).
In the article, the author posits that posting all of this information about themselves on the web has lead to three fundamental changes in this generation:
They think of themselves as having an audience. Every journal entry they write, every picture they take, is meant to be seen by others.
They have archived their adolescence. Years from now, every potential employer or love interest will have access to the best and worst information and pictures from their teenage years.
Their skin is thicker than yours. Putting one’s thoughts, experiences, and photos on the web invites judgment and criticism. But in the online world, "humiliation and fame are not such easily distinguished quantities."