Tuesday, 4 March 2008

omg my mom joined facebook!!

No, she didn't (and anyway she is not my Mom): that is the title of a New York Times piece which was published long ago but, disconnectoidal old thing that I am, I didn't know about until now. The original article is billed as:

In her Cyberfamilias column today in Thursday Styles, Michelle Slatalla writes about how she joined Facebook, the social networking site that recently expanded its membership beyond students, to keep up with her daughter. The teenager viewed it as super creepy.

- and the comments are quite interesting (given my general reservations about web comments which are probably best summed up as "I could run this site"). There seems to be quite a sharp divide over whether it's creepy or normal, whether it's some sort of embarrassing "trying to be down wid da kidz" or just using a facility which, seemingly, is there for all to use.

As far as I recall, my children have usually encouraged me to get into stuff like Facebook and blogging and have not, I hope, generally found it creepy, though I certainly did not do it "to keep up with my daughter" - that bit is perhaps a bit more creepy than the general question would seem to be. On the other hand, one daughter has set it so I can't see her Facebook wall, presumably because either she does think it's creepy for me to see it, or else she didn't like my very occasionally commenting on something. I don't really mind this, in fact I think it's not unreasonable, though I do admire her technical prowess - I was considering doing the same to her, in retaliation, but couldn't see how to, dammit! Seems to not be enough options with regard to networks and friends. Doh.

I can't really figure it out. I think maybe being on Facebook is less creepy than following them round to some BBS or other trying to work out who they are. At least it is open and fairly transparent, what you're up to. On the other hand, people stalking people is fundamentally a bit creepy. So it depends, perhaps, on motivation. On the other other hand people do it for a variety of reasons, including concern for the welfare of their offspring. That doesn't make it right. (Or wrong.) On the other other other hand, the net is a public place and the illusion of security and anonymity is not to be taken too seriously. Hmmm. It's a complex messy subject. Too many other hands.

What do you think? Is parents-on-Facebook creepy? Should I ban my Mum from ever joining it??


Becca said...

Oh dear, I do hope I wasn't that daughter. She of wall-banning un fame, that is. Because if it was, that was a mistake, which I shall now try to rectify.

Strawberryyog said...

No no, it was another one of my extensive army of daughters ... and it wasn't a mistake! :) xx

Lottie said...

I have very little to hide and therefore have no problem with my dad being on facebook!

Strawberryyog said...

Well quite, and good, but do you think it's naff, or potentially naff, because of the "down wid da kidZ" element? I mean, I assume not, since you were one of the persons who encouraged me to sign up! ... but I just wondered about attitudes generally. Also, some people just seem more at home in such an environment than others. For example, off the top of my head, I wouldn't be that amazed if my Uncle Des showed up on FB but I would be surprised to see Glady and Lyle there - so it's not exactly a purely generational thing, I think. Sigh. I probably ought to read an internet sociology book or something ...