Friday, June 29, 2007

From Facebook To a Yearbook, Teens Get a Jolt

Students at Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda opened their yearbooks last month and found pictures they had already seen -- on Facebook, the Internet social-networking site.

In addition to the usual images of blurry hallway traffic, lockers and teens slumped at desks, this year's Walter Johnson Windup included scenes of student life clearly not intended for the yearbook: impromptu snapshots at house parties and random weekend gatherings; portraits taken at arm's length on cellphones; and at least one image of students at what looks like a tailgate party, drinking from telltale red plastic cups.

One student, venting in the school newspaper, said seeing her Facebook pictures in the yearbook was "kind of stalker-y."

Desperate and crunched for time, yearbook staffers resorted to filling pages with photographs downloaded from student Facebook pages. They did it largely without the permission of students and without crediting photographers.

"All the students were like, 'Whoa, that's my picture. I took that,' " said Amanda Horowitz, 15, a rising junior on the yearbook staff who concedes that she, too, published a few pictures from Facebook. "I was rushing, it was last-minute, I thought it was all right."

The episode illustrates how complacent the denizens of Internet vanity sites have become about sharing the artifacts of their private lives, and how, with the click of a mouse, their lives can become very public...

"We grew up with the idea that you can share anything you want with your friends through the Internet," said Amy Hemmati, 16, a rising Walter Johnson junior. "I think we're very trusting in the online community, as opposed to adults, who are on the outside looking in..."

This from the Washington Post.

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