There are already too many jokes about our parents—the senior set in general—adapting to social media. Just when some older people are comfortable consistently using email, we say, "Never mind. Start a blog. Tweet. Get on Facebook. It's fun!"
My mother took the Facebook plunge. Dad's holding strong. I believe hell really will freeze over before he signs up for an account.
I talked her into it. Poor thing. I wore her down during a visit last November. "It's SO easy. We'll be able to share pictures. You can keep track of Joe [my brother] and you'll find treasures in rekindled relationships from the past."
Mom bought the idea as I lied to myself as much as her. Facebook is a time sucking, angst causing, self-esteem crushing, bizarre life distraction. [Just me?] It's like the bowl of M&M's and Hot Tamales on my kitchen counter—for guests, of course. I should have a piece of fruit or handful of almonds for a snack, but there sits that damn bowl of temptation. At the end of some days, I've grabbed too many of the wrong things and I feel oily. Too much candy, and too many clicks of the refresh/reload button on Facebook. Loser.
So, Mom and I set up her Facebook account, selected a cute photo of her and started looking for all of her old boyfriends and that one girl who was mean to her in high school. I alerted my brother immediately.
Joe has yet to reply. It's been five months.
I told Mom that it's important to make an occasional appearance on Facebook. Lurkers are boring and selfish. [Harsh words from someone who lurks.] I encouraged her to, at a minimum, comment on friends' photos. So she tried. I posted a picture of my sons and Mom accidentally updated her status.
Mom has made additional attempts on Facebook over the past few months. I've seen her wish people a happy birthday and she enjoys the "Like" button. But she still gets confused. While trying to comment on something my cousin wrote, she again updated her own status.
Mom's traveling to Utah to visit us in a few weeks. I told her we would spend a little time practicing our Facebook skills. Writing status updates, commenting, liking, removing comments, un-liking and polishing our personal brands in case we've screwed up our privacy settings...again.
In the meantime:
- Keep trying!
- Positive comments are never a bad thing and the safest for beginners.
- When in doubt, don't hit "Enter".
- And above ALL, if Dad ever joins us on Facebook [he won't], never ever, never refer to him as "babe".