Old Folks’ Guide to Facebook

Let me preface this post by saying that Facebook?  Is no longer for young people.  Once upon a time, it was a place where people far younger than me could interact, socialize, and be in community with one another.  

Then, the old folk showed up.  And we’ve very nearly killed that little party.
I use the term “old folk” loosely, because, as you may remember from an earlier post, I’ve been informed by my own children that I’m in that category.  I’m the one embarrassing them on Facebook before they’re even old enough to get on Facebook.  Yes!  I’m just that good!
Now that we’ve scared the young folk off our yard (metaphorically speaking) and onto some other social media outlet (that we’ll find and overpopulate a few years from now), I thought it might be good to post some helpful reminders about what NOT to do on Facebook.  You know, so as to not scare away those few who have stayed around and are forgiving us for our senility.  We can all coexist in this social media world… IF we observe a few simple guidelines.       

Feel free to agree or disagree with me…
1. Don’t friend your kids’ friends.  Seriously.  It’s creepy.  Does it get any less creepy when your “kids” are in their thirties and you’re friending people they work with, socialize with, interact with as adults?  No.  It gets CREEPIER.  They probably won’t tell you that seeing you interact with their friends frustrates them and makes them want to run around the yard screaming… they’ll just go offline so that they can live their lives without you all up in their business.  (Which means you’ll lose out on healthy, authentic interactions with them, all because you needed/wanted to keep up with their friends from college who they haven’t talked to in years.  Hardly worth it, is it?)
2. Don’t try to be someone you’re not.  Don’t be spouting off how “totes adorbs” something is if you’re my age, y’all.  And even my use of that as an example is outdated.  I’m either totally and completely lame (a strong possibility) or I’m 35 years old and okay with being my age.  I don’t try to use my eight year old’s lingo as a way to be more relevant to her because I am NOT eight years old and I’m plenty “relevant” as her totally and completely lame mother who acts like a grownup and is secure in that.  Be yourself.  Authenticity trumps hipness, y’all.
3. Don’t share every little doo-dad or cutesy thing you see.  Remember when email was a new thing, and you had that one friend who forwarded twenty things to you and thirty other people every day?  Remember how you blocked his email address?  Ooooohhhh.  Yep.  Same thing here.  Be selective about what you share.  If everything gets through, then nothing is really getting through to anyone, you know?
4. Don’t use social media as a platform for drama.  So, your son married a certifiably insane woman, and you’d love to passively-aggressively (or just outright) push her buttons.  (I use this an example because this is the most common one I see.)  Since you’re already friends with her friends (see number one), you feel the best way to do that is to make a snippy little comment towards her or about her.  Don’t go there, friend.  Everyone can see what you’re doing, and even if she IS crazy, you’re still the one who’s going to come off looking bad.    
5.  Don’t make everything about your children about YOU.  (Preachin’ to myself here.)  Their birthday is NOT your “labor day.”  Their big news to share with the world is NOT your news to share with the world.  The milestones they reach are NOT because of you.  I know, I know.  It’s so hard to not be nostalgic each and every TBT, especially when you want to say such wonderful, glowing things about them and how everything about them has somehow enriched YOU… but let it go, Mommy.  Let it go.  
6. Don’t be vague in an attempt to fish for comments.  “My life sucks!” is not an appropriate status update.  Facebook is not your therapist’s office, and the people who jump to comment on posts like this are likely doing so because they want to hear the juicy gossip.  Just… don’t.  You’re worth more than that.  Don’t be the crazy Facebook lady!  
7. Don’t post your running/walking/biking routes.  That’s a good way to get yourself attacked or get your home broken into while you’re out.  Better yet, just don’t post from those apps.  I used to post every run but stopped as a safety precaution.  And guess what?  It hasn’t affected the frequency or quality of my running!  I still burn the same amount of calories, even if the world of social media doesn’t know about it!  Who knew?!
8.  Don’t jump on every rumor like it’s the truth.  If an article is posted saying that a certain politican is the confirmed Antichrist, READ the article before sharing it.  Check the facts.  Confirm the accuracy.  Don’t go sharing and lamenting and acting like the world will end unless you know, without a doubt, that the world is, in fact, ending.  Prove that he/she is the Antichrist to me, and I’ll grab my torch and pitchfork and go crazy with you.  But PROVE it first.  Not everything posted on Facebook is true. (Gasp!)  Mob mentality on social media is super ugly, and you don’t want to get caught up in it.
9. Don’t send any more game requests.  Repeat.  DON’T SEND ANY MORE GAME REQUESTS.  I will Candy Crush you if you do!
And finally…
10. Don’t lose sight of why you got online in the first place.  Connect with people you care about and act in a way that honors and respects them when you’re online.  Think about what you post, about what you comment, and what you spend your time doing on Facebook.

What would you add to the list?

One thought on “Old Folks’ Guide to Facebook

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