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The peeps at Kel & Partners have a lot to say. After all we are public relations and social media zealots who thrive on sharing interesting news and great stories with the public. The Ampersand Blog is really the voice of our Peeps – the kick-ass team of people that work at K&P. Whether it’s a story about the way PR works NOW, the social media universe, our families, beloved pets or quirky travel experiences, you’ll find it all right here. You may laugh, you may cry, but the best part is you’ll leave feeling “wicked smaht” as we like to say here in Boston.

Archive for the ‘Motherhood’ Category

  • Facebook

    Ginny Pitcher | Friday, January 3, 2014 13 Comments

    Social Media’s Next Generation: Disappearing

    Allowing Trey, my 11-year-old son, to create a Facebook profile at the age of nine seemed like a smart, savvy move. As someone who preaches the benefits of a connected, socially enabled world, I had no fears about prematurely turning over the keys to the largest social network on the planet. I figured that I would be able to monitor what he posted, gain insight into his relationships, and truly see – through his interactions – what type of man he was becoming.

    Yeah, well, that was a short-lived experiment. The only one who posts to Trey’s Facebook page is me. Every picture, sappy testament on how proud I am as a mother (completely self serving), or forced-family-fun event where Trey is tagged, litters his Newsfeed. There are no girls popping on asking if he likes them. There’s no picture, where he tags all his bros and waxes poetic about their friendship. Good luck finding a statement about his beautiful, supporting and funny mother. It just ain’t happening.

    @TroubleBrown isn’t interested in chronicling his life through Facebook or even shooting out snippets through Twitter (oh yeah, I already pushed that on him when he was eight, http://ampersandblog.com/2011/03/28/is-tweeting-at-8-years-old-too-young-one-mothers-confession/). Trey and his comrades have chosen to become the disappearing generation – where content isn’t captured for a lifetime in a newsfeed or content stream. Trey and his friends skew toward platforms like Snapchat (snapchat.com), where content fades once viewed, and ask.fm (www.ask.fm), where users hurl anonymous questions at one another.

    Scrounging through his profiles on both platforms, here is the fun stuff I can tell you:

    • Sixth graders are obsessed with dating
    • Words like “swag,” “idk,” and “baller” are used a lot
    • Even though Trey couldn’t articulate what an adjective is, he can describe most kids with five
    • Every so often someone from another country will post a question and they are always thoughtful, like: “what historical figure do you most despise?” or “what would you grow in your imaginary garden?” (Trey’s honest answer: money trees)
    • Trey likes a lot of girls and uses the adjective “funny” as one of his top favorite traits in liking a girl

    And here is the not-so-fun stuff I can tell you:

    • Anonymity gives people balls and let’s them say unkind things
    • Photos that disappear means that sometimes you do stupid things and don’t worry about the repercussions
    • There’s just the slightest veil of secrecy with all of the anonymous, disappearing content that makes me uneasy, a little scared
    • For the most part, I have no idea what Trey communicates or says about his friends, his life, me

    So, where does this leave me? While I probably thought I was being progressive by letting Trey establish his social profile early on, I’m find myself at the same crossroads as every parent (even those more conservative than me…shutter). Just because you turn over the keys to the social kingdom, there is no guarantee that your kid will take the same path. New technology, sometimes driven by the faults of old technology, will be developed, adopted and appropriated by different generations. And sometimes, that means that you just won’t be part of it. Ultimately, if I did my job right, Trey will respect the boundaries of what is good and suitable content. It will mean that if he were to save every photo he shared, every comment he posted, every interaction he had, his story would be that of a kind, fun and loving boy.  So, I’m not holding my breath on this one…but I’m pretty sure I got most of it right.

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