Monday, May 11, 2015

My Mom's guide to Facebook

Last month was a momentous one because my mother joined Facebook, and as expected- she has heaps of commentary on the matter. [Tangent: My mother is the funniest no-filter person on the planet, and I often have said that if she had a Twitter account, she would be Internet Famous by her fourth entry.] Although practically every human in on the grid, my mom has always remained steadfast that she wasn't interested in joining. My father and her were always under the assumption that just because you joined the site meant that everyone HAD to know your business. [Tangent : I can't tell you how many times I heard "I don't want someone to know where I am at all times or what I'm having for dinner."] Over and over,  I tried to explain that FB only posts what you type in on the site, but they weren't  having it.

Being that everyday, and for a paycheck, I sit on Facebook, this abhorance of social networking didn't sit right with me [Tangent: OK. Maybe it wasn't  that bad before. Back before she was on social media, my mom never had to send me text messages to alert me that someone I know has posted an unflattering yet trying to be sexy picture or  god forbid to question why my boyfriend has posted a drawing of a penis in a post.]. She needed some frame of reference when I tried to tell her about my day at work. [Tangent: For example, if I wanted to brag on a day when I got a lot of "likes" for my work account. Her response before was, "What does that mean to 'like' it. I don't need Facebook to like you."]

When she broke her hip in February, my sister and I saw FB as a way to give her a project that would keep her occupied. Against her will, we set up her profile and started adding friends for her. Slowly she is picking up on ins and outs. [Tangent: I forget what it is like to be new to Facebook. I joined 10 years ago when it was still "the Facebook" and limited to people with university email addresses. I have adapted to the  evolution and the lingo and the various quirks, but explaining it to someone for the first time is surprisingly difficult. Sometimes it's like teaching English to someone from another country...it makes sense to me, but I know it sometimes is illogical.] Within a week, she was already forming a lot of strong opinions about people on Facebook and had expressed several times to me a real concern that she would be Catfished. [Tangent: Yeah, although she wasn't on the social media grid, my mom watches Catfish and lots of Criminally-mindsy type shows, so she is super aware that the net can be a crazy place.]
Here are some of mom's feelings as a newcomer to the social matrix:

  1. Profile Pictures- My mom feels super strongly that it should be make it be of YOU...not your pet or you and 9 other people. This is mostly due from the fact that a lot of the people requesting her friendship are total blasts from the past and sometimes a name isn't ringing a bell, she relies on the photo. If the photo is of a kitten in a hoodie, it makes her powers of deductive reasoning null and void.
  2. Being invited to games- Because she is a newcomer to Facebook, she thinks being invited to play Farmville or being asked to get upped a level in Candy Crush is like being invited to a party. I heard her say the other day, "I got invited to play a game today, which is so nice of them because it's someone I don't know very well. Too bad I don't play." I'm sure after her 30 millionth invite, I'm sure it will lose it sweetness, but for now- mom finds the whole exchange very charming.
  3. Liking Your Own Picture - One day I came home from work and called my mom out on this faux pas. She, of course, had no idea that she had done it (and didn't know how to delete it), but was glad she had because it pushed it back into people's newsfeed, and hence got lots of new people to see it and comment and like it. So mom's lesson here, if you want more likes on your photos, give it a few days and like your own. I'm not sure this will catch on, but she has a valid point.  
This is just scratching the surface! Don't you think she's halfway to a technology blog by now?

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