Friday, March 16, 2007

Why I'm Glad There Were No Camera Phones When I Was in College

You know how it works. You're out with your friends having a few drinks, which turns into a few more, which turns into you making out with some random guy with greasy hair and a shirt that is intentionally unbuttoned too low for polite society. And out come the camera phones.

I graduated from college (Go Dukes!) in 1998. When I was in school, camera phones only existed in spy novels. In fact, very few people even had cell phones. Sure, every once in a while you'd run into someone who had one, but it was very rare, and they usually couldn't get decent reception.

Nowadays, everyone has a cell phone . . . even little kids. And, as my friend Beaver has pointed out, it is actually difficult to find a cell phone without a built-in camera anymore. (She works for a three-lettered government agency and cannot bring a camera phone into her building.) And the quality of the pictures that these cameras take is getting better and better all the time. This is fine and dandy . . . unless of course you've ever done anything stupid and had a friend capture it for posterity.

Back in the good old days (10 years ago), when you did something stupid while drunk or just acting like a fool, one of your friends might capture it on film. This friend would eventually get around to developing the pictures a few weeks (or months) later, you'd have a chuckle about how drunk you were that night, and then this picture would either end up in the back of a photo album or torn up after you wrestled it out of your friend's hand. Worst case scenario - a couple people see the picture and you get embarrassed whenever someone mentions having seen it. But in general, you flashing "the girls" to a room full of drunk frat guys or making out with one of your female roommates* may have been fodder for the "remember the night Helen [fill in the blank with naughty act]" stories, but there is no concrete proof that it actually happened.

No more. Now, if you go out and do something stupid, before you wake up the next morning the picture has been downloaded and posted on your friends' MySpace pages or one of the many sites that let you share your photos with God and everybody. Someone sees the picture and tells a friend, who tells a friend, who has a buddy who has a blog that gets a lot of traffic. Next thing you know, your tits are the 3rd most popular search on Google for 3 days straight. And yes, it's only 3 days, but the problem is that everyone you know has now seen these pictures. Including your co-workers, former teachers, the neighborhood gossip who lives next door to your parents, and the creepy guy from high school who used to always follow you everywhere obsessively licking his lips until they were chapped. (Ew!)

That's why I'm glad I graduated during the last millennium. Yeah, I still occasionally get drunk with my friends and do dumb things, but I generally keep my clothes on now. But if those blasted cameras had been around when I was in college (especially during my sophomore year . . . what a year!) I wouldn't be able to show my face in public.

* This is not a confession to any impropriety on my part, merely an example of what could have happened.


Jo said...

Uh huhn. What did you do last night? ;-)

natalie said...

So true! Shoot, nowadays the picture is uploaded before you even get your next round at the bar. Just the other day I went to my phone's photo album to find eleventy billion pictures of me singing* terrible renditions of Stevie Nick's 'White-winged dove' and 'Bohemian Rhapsody.'And everyone *knows* I hate karaoke.

I was offensively drunk, therefore I am liable to do nearly anything.** Especially things I generally loathe, like eating cupcakes and singing karaoke.

I still wouldn't wear Crocs.