Monday, December 28, 2009

My Mother Joined Facebook

In an effort to outdo herself, my mother joined Facebook last week. She didn't get help from anyone, and didn't tell anyone. Instead, she added us. (And I was so surprised I asked her to confirm that she had joined, and that she wasn't being impersonated, because my mother on Facebook?! ...Sacre bleu!)

This was a particularly hard blow to withstand, as I'd been preparing a post to guilt her, and hopefully prompt her to join. I wrote:
Facebook is a social networking Web site I've provided only a cursory glance to. As part of my new campaign to encourage my mother to use it—because she'd love it, and because I wish she'd stop asking me to do things for her with my deactivated account—I plan to provide more insight and details in hopes of goading her into joining the service.

I'm starting my goading with reasons why my grandpa should join. Not just because he should, but because as an octogenarian, and therefor expected to lack the technological wherewithal to use the site, but because the sheer shame will force my mother in to action. The truth of course, is that my grandfather is very savvy. More than my admittedly very capable mother. But stereotypes remain, and my list will serve as my starting point.

Reasons My Grandpa Should Join Facebook

  • It's so easy that an orangutan can use it. It's true! Nonja, an orangutan in a Vienna zooz, photographs her surroundings and uploads the photos to her Facebook via wifi. Nonja doesn't maintain her Facebook page, and didn't set it up herself, but she uses Facebook, and that's the point. Grandpa already knows how to e-mail and navigate the Web, so "learning" Facebook won't be a challenge.
  • My brother-in-law needs help fighting a crime boss in Mafia Wars. According to this post on Lamebook, this young man's grandfather has reached level 36. I'm at what, level 4? My grandfather is smart, and has more time to figure out this stupid application. Maybe he can teach me. Alternatively, Grandpa can start his own family and annihilate us all. I guess if anyone should be allowed to get away with it, it's Grandpa, right?
  • He knows a ton of people. My Grandpa can't go anywhere in the Midwest without seeing someone he knows. This is not an exaggeration. At his age, he knows every resident in North Dakota (perhaps that's not so hard), and seemingly anyone who crosses his path in South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Montana. Wait. Maybe that's not hard either. Still, the fact remains, that Grandpa has hundreds of relatives and knows thousands more, and these people span several generations. If Social Networking is about amassing an impressive friendcount, this should not be a challenge.
  • He knows a ton of people on Facebook. To start, I'm a begrudging member at the behest of my sisters. My cousins are savvy, and it turns out, adults are flocking to the site in droves to share photographs and keep in touch. It's not just the Young People Grandpa knows (and there are plenty of Young People)! It's older people too. From CNET:
    According to iStrategyLabs, from January to July of 2009, even though the population of Facebook members over the age of 55 grew 513.7 percent, the site now sees 16.5 percent fewer high-school users, and 21.7 percent fewer college users. Which, naturally, is cause for panic because when the cool kids leave it's all totally over. Or so the common wisdom says.
    513%! That's a ton of people. The 50+ demographic is the largest growing generation on Facebook. As my people, the 20-somethings, abandon their accounts to get a job, and my sisters' generation abandons their accounts because...they're bored? parents and my grandfather are joining. They're making up for my inactivity with endless hours of Scrabulous.

  • I think he'd like it. From Time's February 2009 article "Why Facebook Is for Old Fogies" (fogies referring to my mother, not my grandfather):
    There is very little that old people enjoy more than forcing others to pay attention to pictures of their children. Facebook is the most efficient engine ever devised for this.
Additional Resources:
Orangutan Photographer Has More Facebook Fans Than You, Mashable
Nonja the Orangutan Tagged a Photo Of You On Facebook, Popular Science
Family Still Matters, Lamebook
Why Facebook Is for Old Fogies, Time
So is Facebook for old people now or what?, CNET

The Dec. 10 episode of 30 Rock lampoons Facebook, its youth-related fervency, and its old people hopelessness.
I guess I won't have to provide a list of reasons if she's already joined, but consider the Facebook-themed posts an official feature of Lessons for Old People.

No comments: