Nation Holds Breath As Teen Deliberates Liking Friend’s Selfie
McMaster, a classmate of Johnson’s at Urbana High School, uploaded a picture she took of herself in the bathroom mirror this morning, just before leaving for school. Seven minutes later, Johnson saw the image in her Facebook feed, and these next few seconds will prove crucial in the developing relationship between the two freshmen.
The stakes in the decision have grown high over the last few days, explains professor of psychology Ben Shwarmer. “The two young ladies move in different cliques at school, and as such are not close friends. Each one considers the other likable enough, but the fact that their parents are pushing them to become close has made each of them wary of doing just that.” Then, three days ago, McMaster and Johnson were the only people their age at a community event to which their parents had dragged them, and the commiseration that they shared sparked a potential new friendship nevertheless.
The two teens exchanged phone numbers and friend requests on Facebook, but had little online interaction in the intervening days, as McMaster’s charger was unavailable. Once she found it and charged her device overnight, she photographed herself several times and chose the image she found most satisfactory to post to her wall. The next several minutes were the first time both of the teens were on line for any significant duration at the same time since they friended each other.
Experts are divided on what will happen. “There’s probably still some residual awkwardness from all the parental associations, and we’re likely to see Ms. Johnson ignore the image entirely,” says Yenta Gross, who writes about social media use for several teen publications. “Shes shown some admirable restraint in the past, such as the time three weeks ago when she tactfully pretended that a friend’s drunken, lewd rant never appeared in her feed.”
Educator Jack Kass disagrees. “Kids are stupid,” he insists. “That’s an ugly picture, it’s obvious the girl is fishing for compliments, and Samantha has a low tolerance for such things.”
“In fact, I think I’m going to post a mocking comment right no – crap. I can’t comment if I’m not a friend. OK, teenage creepy alter ego here I come…”