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Sara Malm: We are all becoming brands, selling ourselves online


The timeline has come. Soon we will all be displaying our entire Facebook history for everyone to see. Mark Zuckerberg proudly boasts that you will be able to "tell the whole story of your life on a single page". The social networking world is torn between fear and outrage.

"I don't want to, I don't want everyone to know what I've been up to in the past" seems to be the general line.

Tough luck, kiddo, welcome to the lives of anyone under 23. We are the social networking generation. Our lives have been played out online since before we hit our teens, and whether we like it or not, all it takes is a simple Google and it is all there – and we are talking the pre-Facebook days of 2005.

I have been on various social networking sites since the age of ten under nicknames like Freestylergirl, Pineapple_ Fairy and TooSpecial, which weren't even cool back then. I started blogging when I was 14 – the idea of a conventional diary was completely foreign to me. This has been the decade of over-sharing. Although that doesn't mean that I want it gone. The internet is where I have grown from child, to awkward teen, to woman.

Scrolling through my life, all can I see is a young girl who poured out her little suburban heart about boys, friends and dreams and I have no doubt in my mind that anyone else who reads it will agree. Once I get my Facebook timeline it will be a parade of questionable outfits, men and status updates. My photos will have a category all to themselves when it comes to my embarrassing past. Am I worried? Not in the slightest.

I doubt that my future employers will look at that blogpost I wrote in 2008 about a tequila hangover and think: "Oh, what an irresponsible woman she was at 17. We cannot employ her, we simply cannot!" And unless you have been moronic enough to blog about what an awful company they are or accept their friendship on Facebook while being tagged in photos getting naked on your desk at the last Christmas party, neither will yours.

We are all becoming individual brands in our own right, selling ourselves online, and our private lives are part of that brand. If that is not how you want it, then you should seriously consider deleting your Facebook account, swear off Twitter and go back to emails.

So Keep Calm and Carry On Facebooking.

The writer is studying journalism and the news industry at the University of Kent. Simon Kelner is away.