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Laurie Niles

Stories from Teenagers

August 9, 2008 at 12:47 AM

I received a number of e-mails in response to Think Before You Post, my blog last week about presenting yourself well on the Internet. I was struck by one particular e-mail, and here is an excerpt from it that I feel is important for young people, and their parents, to read:

"(When I was in high school) I felt so disconnected from the music community at large (growing up in a rural community), that it was easy to believe that what I wrote online would never matter in the real world; now, as my professional career is beginning, I bitterly regret the youthful stridency that permitted me to opine so freely and so publicly, not infrequently about people who I now know have read this site."

It's not just Violinist.com, either. People will read your MySpace page; they'll find your Facebook page.

Violinist.com's membership is open to people who are 13 years of age and up. While we don't permit young children to write blogs on the page, we know that a number of people who write are teenagers. We know that teenagers are capable of maturity and awareness; and that's what we'd recommend when you post.

It's not as if all teenagers wake up one day to be horribly embarrassed over their youthful postings. A number of teenagers have parlayed their blog writing on Violinist.com into great things. For example, Caeli Smith started blogging here when she was 13, has done a number of internships with Violinist.com while still a teenager, and is now a roving reporter for From the Top and was featured on the cover of this fall's Teen Strings magazine. You Go Girl!

I've seen some wonderful blogs written and discussions moderated by teenagers:

  • Profiles of teachers
  • A report on the day in the life of a professional musician, from a student perspective
  • Reports on masterclasses
  • Violin camp exposes
  • Even an all-out campaign to get Josh Bell on Oprah. (Hey, we've got to be getting close on this! ;) )
  • So put your best self forward; you can have a voice and make a difference as a teenager participating on this site. If you need advice about how (or whether) to write something in your Violinist.com blog or on the discussion board, you know where to find me.

    From Jim W. Miller
    Posted on August 9, 2008 at 5:37 AM
    "It's not as if all teenagers wake up one day to be horribly embarrassed over their youthful postings."

    She doesn't post. Facebook or myspace wouldn't work if you couldn't change it anytime you wanted.

    From Yixi Zhang
    Posted on August 9, 2008 at 8:14 AM
    I think, speak and act publicly, therefore I am.

    Embarrassed by what I wrote in the past? Constantly! Just like those out of tune notes, you accept your responsibility and hope for the future improvement but never stop playing.

    From Jim W. Miller
    Posted on August 9, 2008 at 8:39 AM
    The Violinist.com Car Company doesn't need seat belts or air bags, just a sign on the door saying think before you drive. lol. Ralph Nader where are you?
    From Jim W. Miller
    Posted on August 9, 2008 at 8:52 AM
    And you get your full license at age 13 with no driving test :)
    From Terra Warger
    Posted on August 9, 2008 at 2:53 PM
    do you ever stop being embarrassed or regretful about the things your write or say? maybe less often, but from a teenager's standpoint, i know an whole lot of adults who also regret what they've said in the past.

    also, teens without an outlet- like Violinist.com- and without a mentor-parents, or the adults on this page- grow up to say just as many embarrassing things as before.

    live and learn...or so i think.

    From Brian Hong
    Posted on August 10, 2008 at 7:29 PM
    Ms. Niles, I agree fully. I am regretting some of the things I wrote in my violin camp blog. I am flattered that you put my blogs there...however. Thanks.
    From Laurie Niles
    Posted on August 11, 2008 at 2:12 AM
    At the same time, Brian, the people who run that camp should be accountable. I'm betting they improve a few things for next summer because of what you wrote.
    From Terez Mertes
    Posted on August 12, 2008 at 6:04 PM
    Again, well-put, Laurie.

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