Monday, February 23, 2009

Family Issues on Facebook

As a part of my group project, I'm exploring the relationships between family members on Facebook. It's turning out to be an interesting experience, even in the initial, getting-the-general-idea stage of researching that I'm in right now. It prompted me to search for internet articles about adults on Facebook, which led me to a series of hilarious articles. For people who don't know, Facebook was initially only for Harvard students, but was expanded to include any university/college students. Then it was expanded again to allow high school students to join, and then, finally, in 2006, the metaphorical gates were opened to anyone aged 13+. Meaning, of course, the adults.

Disaster. Drama and angst of epic proportions. Someone call the waaaambulance.

Help, My Parents Posted on My Facebook Wall, an article written in 2007, nearly a year after the opening to the general public, gives a general outline of the history of Facebook and the adult entrance into the previously kids-only world. It cites the reasons some adults choose not to join Facebook, and addresses a variety of issues by way of providing a specific person as an example. My favorite is the sixteen-year-old girl who created a group called "Adults NEED to stay off Facebook!" when her mom and her parents' friends started creating Facebook profiles.

What if Grandma pokes me? is an article written more recently, in Feb 15, 2009. Apparently, two years makes that much of a difference, because this article actually attempts to bridge the gap between generations. There are the tiny individual anecdotes, of course, and the story of the woman who created a group called "My Mom Just Joined Facebook, Make Her Feel Welcome" only to have Mom's Facebook popularity exceed hers is pretty cool. But the best part of this particular article is at the end, where the author lays down a short, but essential, list of Facebook etiquette for parents.

Whether you do the two-faced thing and welcome your parents on Facebook with open arms and a private profile, or you shun them outright and throw virtual temper tantrums in the form of a hate group, it can't be denied that parents are on Facebook. And they're probably here to stay; Pandora's box can be closed, but nothing that escaped can be put back inside. The only thing we can do now is cope.