Facebook Feedback

I don’t quite believe this, but let’s pretend.

But today’s spring breakers — at least some of them — say they have been tamed, in part, not by parents or colleges or the fed-up cities they invade, but by the hand-held gizmos they hold dearest and the fear of being betrayed by an unsavory, unsanctioned photo or video popping up on Facebook or YouTube.

The Times writer then quotes several earnest Spring Breakers who confess to cooling it out due to the bad press from Facebook.

Camrea Sawyer, 22, a senior at Athens Technical College, was heading to the beach with her University of Georgia friends to chill and tan her already sun-crisped body. Keenly aware of the damage a misplaced, mistimed cellphone photo or video can do, she said she is careful. “At the beach yesterday, I would put my beer can down, out of the picture every time,” Ms. Sawyer said. “I do worry about Facebook. I just know I need a job eventually.” Asked if she would ever do anything some could view as inappropriate, like join a wet T-shirt contest, she said, “No way. I would never do that because everybody has phones these days.”

At least one bartender confirms the news about wet t-shirt contests in decline.

“They are very prudish,” said Margaret Donnelly, 28, a bartender at Tattoos and Scars who has lived in Key West for four years and remembers her own student antics “They are so afraid everyone is going to take their picture and put it online. Ten years ago people were doing filthy, filthy things, but it wasn’t posted on Facebook.” By way of example, Ms. Donnelly said, there are far fewer wet T-shirt contests — a spring break mainstay — in town today. By her count, Tattoos and Scars is the only bar that offers one, and only once a week.

Assuming the hypothesis is true that Facebook exposure causes restrained Spring Breaking, you can see a persuasion effect: Feedback! Especially, Uncontrolled Feedback! When Other Guys get Feedback, They tend to respond to it. Consider this example with Health Care workers, feedback, and hand washing.

Thus, Facebook has finally penetrated the consciousness of even Spring Breakers! Its Feedback function now surveils those Web 2.0 hipsters into restrained, polite, and earnest behavior. No one predicted this as a benefit from social media.

P.S. Many years ago we trusted a travel agent to book us on a vacation to the Bahamas during the WVU Spring Break. We wanted an out of the way place that students would not be visiting. Shortly after we arrived, I wandered into the bar to get my sundown Martini and enjoy the scenery. Three hot blondes sauntered in the room and the hottest one hollered out, “What’s a girl gotta do to get drunk around here?” The room exploded, the party started, and was still going when Melanie and I checked out the next morning. Woulda like to have seen the Facebook photos from that scene.