A mom tells of her facebook adventures in today’s NYTimes…
So last week I joined Facebook, the social network for students that opened its doors last fall to anyone with an e-mail address. The decision not only doubled its active membership to 24 million (more than 50 percent of whom are not students), but it also made it possible for parents like me to peek at our children in their online lair.
At Facebook.com, I eyed the home page (“Everyone can join”) with suspicion. I doubted Facebook’s sincerity. What could a site created by a student who was born three years after I started mispronouncing “Henri Cartier-Bresson” want with me?
Realizing that these were cynical, mocking thoughts cheered me — I felt edgier already — and gave me the courage to join.
After I got my Profile page, the first thing I did was to search for other members — my daughter and her friends — to ask them to be my friends.
Shockingly, quite a few of them — the friends, not the daughter — accepted my invitation and gave me access to their Profiles, including their interests, hobbies, school affiliations and in some cases, physical whereabouts.
Meanwhile, my Profile had News Feed to inform me of every development:
Michelle and Paige Ogden are now friends.
Michelle is out for a run.
Michelle and Jesse Bendit are now friends.
Michelle is home.
No word from my daughter, though.
Out of the blue, I got an invitation to be a friend from one of my neighbors, Ted, who coincidentally had just joined to check out the applications that independent software developers started adding to the site last month. He showed me how to add movie reviews and snippets of music to my Profile.
I invited my friends — my actual friends — to join Facebook. Some did. I sent a “poke” to one to say hello. I wrote on another’s “wall.” I tagged a photo to make it appear on my friend Tina’s Profile. In gratitude, she “poked” me.
Things were going really well, when suddenly something disturbing happened. An instant-message window appeared onscreen to deliver a verdict.
“wayyy creepy,” it said. “why did you make one!”
Ah, there she was.
“What are you talking about?” I typed innocently.
“im only telling you for your own good,” my daughter typed.
“Be my friend,” I typed.
“You won’t get away with this,” she typed. “everyone in the whole world thinks its super creepy when adults have facebooks.”
“Have facebooks? Is that what you think a Profile page is called?” I typed.
But after receiving a follow-up threat from my daughter (“unfriend paige right now. im serious. i dont care if they request you. say no. i will be soo mad if you dont unfriend paige right now. actually”), I started worrying that allowing parents in would backfire on Facebook.
If the presence of people like me alienated Facebook’s core younger group, would they flee? And if so, whom would I annoy?
Errr. I think it’s a good sign we all jump ship and take back face-to-face socializing. That’ll fuck with them.