She did not do so in order to seek out old childhood friends, keep tabs on current ones, or have another avenue by which to monitor the growth of her granddaughter. No, she joined facebook so that she could register for a swimming event in preparation for a triathlon. Obviously.
To that extent, she joined facebook reluctantly. I have been trying to recruit my mom to facebook for a while, but she has always refused to do so. I’m pretty sure my dad has convinced her the site will cause the ultimate fall of Babylon and she best not be on the wrong side when it does. My in-laws also refuse to join. My mother-in-law saw one negative story about facebook on The Today Show and she now believes someone called “Marks Zuttenburg” invented adultery.
It’s not even that I think facebook is all that great. It can be annoying and redundant. It does, however, provide a convenient and consistent means of staying in touch. The fact that my parents and in-laws steadfastly refuse to join while the majority of the free world is on there only leads to conversations like this:
Mom: So what else … Oh, your cousin Cara took the kids to the zoo … was it last weekend? I can’t remember …
Me: It was two weekends ago. I saw the pictures on facebook. They pet a llama.
Mom: Oh. Okay. Ummm, did you hear about unc—
Me: Yep. Saw his facebook status. Doing well, should be back on his feet soon.
Mom: Oh. Thanks.
It wasn’t until my mom was forced to register for an event on its facebook page did she finally choose to sign up. My wife received a friend request from someone with my mom’s name but with no profile pic. Could it be? The next day I received my friend request, and I called her right away. There was confusion.
My parents have a distinct and mysterious way of defying the user-friendliness of technology. There is no technology so simple that they will not somehow run into a problem that nobody has heard of before. I had my dad download a running app on his iPhone and he somehow managed to set it up so that it tells him he ran 50 kilowatts when he walks to the bathroom.
Sure enough, my mom had questions. She was only joining to register for the event, and she didn’t know what to do with all the “friend messages” she was getting. I told her to just hit accept or ignore. She said that wasn’t an option. ? Then she asked me how to “do a status question for the swim page where the comments are” and my head exploded. There is basically nothing I can do to help her unless she flies out to Arizona.
Later that day I checked facebook and my mom had … I don’t even know how to describe it. I literally had never seen anything like it in my facebook life. It was a status update, maybe, that read:
(Mrs.) Kenny asks: This is my first tri-and new to Facebook! Just paid for the event and I’m totally confused. Help! Are these are all the same groups, is there a charge for each? Sorry!
Her entire question was imbedded as a separate link and it was targeted at no one in particular. If Mark Zuckerberg saw what my mom did, he would say, “I didn’t even know you could do that.”
Amazingly, no one responded to this, and she still has questions about this swimming event. I do not think this experience will convince her to remain on facebook, and the more I think about it … it might be for the better.
Note: This column appears in the 7/12 issue of The Glendale Star and the 7/13 issue of the Peoria Times.