I’m just gonna come out and say it…older people shouldn’t be on Facebook. If the term “social media” was coined after you went to college, or you think when things “go viral” you need a shot, or you use the comment of someone’s post as a reply-all to write to the person in paragraph form as if it were a private email about what your co-worker’s daughter said about oatmeal…you need a Facebookervention from your kids. Its a comment…not a soap box. May I suggest LinkedIn instead or perhaps just a nice neighborhood book club? I understand all us “kids” are on the “The Facespace” and the “My Page” these days where we “Twerk” each other pictures of our kids, discuss our daily activities, and our thoughts on local sports teams. Its fun. Its being social without being social. However, there are some unwritten rules that the last generation didn’t get the memo on…and it gets frustrating after a while.
When you drive through the state of Iowa you wave to a car as they pass by even if they are strangers, right? How about waving while boating? Don’t double-dip the chip in the dip? Unwritten rules. You learn these by growing up in the social situations and come to know them as the right thing to do. This is the same on Facebook. So like a speeding New Yorker in a Mercedes flipping off a friendly Iowa farmer in his truck…some of your actions are simply out of place because you’re not from ’round here. Let’s start with these 10 basics:
- There is no “The” before “Facebook” or “Twitter”
- Status Updates are public
- Tweeting is very public
- You do not have to accept every friend request
- You do not have to friend request everyone you know
- If someone ignores your friend request, don’t keep trying
- Comments are best kept short
- Too many comments = stalking
- You don’t need to comment on everything in your feed
- If its confusing…just back away from the computer slowly
Possibly the worst thing that has happened in the last decade is the accessibility of smart phones to the general public, the elderly, and people that could barely operate a flip phone without butt-dialing every 30 seconds. Having a smart phone does not make you smart. Smart phones have given us all immediate and constant access to social media, which means the little old lady down the block who keeps feeding cereal to her cat while enjoying a nice bowl of Meow Mix for herself can read every status update her grand kids post while she paints ceramic figurines of squirrels playing instruments. Our older generation has every notification on their phone set to full volume and instant frequency so they can be hep to the jive on the pulse of America. “Mmmmmmerica. I’ve watched grandparents stop watching The Price Is Right to comment on someone’s shared post about Miley Cyrus. Who is feeding the pigeons?!!! Who is crop dusting the pharmacy?!!! Yes, I want a Werther’s Original and not an invite to play Candy Crush Grandma!!!
For the past year my wife’s cousin’s aunt’s friend’s bother’s wife has friended me every week on Facebook. We have not met. I have met my wife’s cousin’s aunt’s friend…but truthfully, I really just know my wife’s cousin’s aunt. Out of frustration I accepted her friend request this year and was instantly greeted with so many comments, likes, and shares I had to block her. As many as 10 times a day I received comments from my wife’s cousin’s aunt’s friend’s bother’s wife as she ferociously read through my timeline like a novel from it’s inception on July 23rd, 2006 and commented or liked everything. EVERYTHING! I got so fed up that I unfriended my wife’s cousin’s aunt’s friend’s bother’s wife and wife’s cousin’s aunt’s friend’s bother.
I’m not going to put an age line on this…I’m just going to say that if you aren’t sure if you are too old for Facebook…you’re too old. If you don’t think you’re too old but are offended by this post…you’re too old. If you feel the urge to reply to this post with a paragraph about how things are going in your life…you’re too old. If you are completely confused and don’t know what to do…click HERE. If you got this post and thought it was funny…you’re still in it to win it. If you didn’t find it funny here is what you need to do:
- Turn off all the Facebook notifications on your phone
- Set aside 30-60 minutes a week to get caught up on your home feed
- Reduce your comments by 50% in frequency and length
- Compose new posts for your timeline for us to read and comment on
- If you don’t get it don’t use it…ask your kids to email you pictures
Think of Facebook as a cocktail party. There are appropriate conversations to participate in and some that aren’t your cup of tea. As well, you wouldn’t usurp the conversation with a story of your own…you’d engage in the current topic appropriately. You wouldn’t belittle your children in front of their peers and co-workers…well…maybe you would. Either way, use better judgement. To quote the movie Goonies, “The next time you see sky, it’ll be over another town. The next time you take a test, it’ll be in some other school. Our parents, they want the bestest stuff for us. But right now they gotta do what’s right for them, ’cause it’s their time. Their time, up there. Down here it’s our time. It’s our time down here. That’s all over the second we ride up Troy’s bucket.” Facebook is our time. It’s our time down here on Facebook. “Goonies never say die.”
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