Do your parents keep scrapbooks of old photographs? Mine do. I'm not talking about the scrapbooks filled with photos of first steps, first birthdays, and first nude adventures in public; I'm talking about when they were in college. Have you ever seen pre-graduation college pictures of your parents? I could count the ones I've seen of mine on one hand, causing me to suspect that there are no more than five.

But in this day and age where digital cameras are as prevalent in college culture as...Oh, I don't know...bead curtains used to be, we are guaranteed to remember more about our undergraduate experience than we could ever want to.

Take, for example, web sites like or These sites serve the nearly exclusive function of making sure anyone who runs a seemingly innocent Google image search for "college campus + architectural decor" will find a bleary-eyed picture of you making sweet yet uncomfortable love to the polar bear statue outside Smith Union. Sure, you can use these sites to compile albums and make calendars of adorable group photos, but for every shot of you and your friends embracing and beaming with the glowing optimism of youth, there are 17 shots of you retching and grimacing with the dizzy remorse of having just drunk something on a dare.

Now, if the only consequence of your friends' itchy trigger fingers was an awkward interaction with your nine-year-old when he stumbles across your college photo database, then this webshot pandemic would not be cause for immediate concern.

But it gets much worse.

It has been reported that employers have begun using personal information sites like and to do background research on job applicants. Among many other things, this means that your first job interview after college will probably go like this:

You: So I guess what I'm trying say is I think that this company is a great fit for me, and I feel like I possess the type of responsible work ethic and professionalism that this job will require.

President of Goldman-Sachs: (slides digital prints across desk) Are these photographs of you sitting naked in a kiddie pool smoking pot out of a potato?

You: I'll show myself out.

But embarrassing job interviews are only the beginning. God help any of you (and I know there are plenty) who ever plan on running for public office. Forget tagged photos, everything on your Facebook profile is fair game. How would your P.R. team spin your former membership to the group "Tuesday Booze Hounds" or "I Am a Homosexual Robot Who Loves You" (both real groups)? What happens when hypothetical, creatively named sophomore Joe Schmoe goes on "Hardball with Chris Matthews," fresh off his sweep of the state primaries?

Matthews: Tonight, we're talking to presidential hopeful Joe Schmoe.

Schmoe: Thanks for having me, Chris.

Matthews: Mr. Schmoe, I have records here that during your time at Bowdoin College you were a member of the group "Elitist Northern Liberals." Do you feel as though elitism is something to be encouraged?

Schmoe: Well no, Chris, and that was a long time ago. Since then I feel as though my perspective has matured and I have learned that...

Matthews: You also inspired the creation of a group called "I Hate Joe Because He Is Perpetually Belligerent and Booted All Over the Coleman Rug." How do you respond to critics that contend that, if elected, your penchant for "perpetual belligerence" will devastate U.S. foreign relations and your inability to control your vomit reflex suggests a lack of self-possession unbecoming to a national figurehead?

Schmoe: (fakes seizure).

So maybe your dad was the chug champion of his frat house, and maybe your mom and her friends streaked across the quad pickled on wine coolers every Thursday night without a shred of incriminating evidence. But things have changed since then: The Cold War is over, the Republicans took back Congress, and scientists Vinton Cerf and Bob Kahn developed a handy communications aid we now know as the "world wide web." Thanks to subsequent technological advances, a photograph taken in Maine can preclude an employment opportunity halfway across the globe within seconds!

And it's not just your future bosses who have access to this oft-damning information. Your current bosses?the College administrators?also have Facebook accounts. So, yeah, you probably ought to take down those pics of you pissing on the side of Barry Mills's house. You should also delete that post on your wall that reads "Dude?remember how we pissed on Barry Mills's house?" And while you're at it, you may as well withdraw from the group "I Pissed on Barry Mills's House." These are all merely suggestions.

I leave you with this advice: have fun, but have common sense, too. With the Information Age reaching the peak of its decadence, it's not the photo of your first nude adventure in public you have to worry about; it's the photo of your most recent one.