Forty Before Forty Item #21: Welcome to Facebook, Dad!
My parents are not what you'd call Luddites. They have cell phones. They have a PC. They use wireless broadband. I remember my mom signing us up for computer lessons when I was just 9 or 10, and we bought our first PC in my early high school years. This was back when you needed a floppy DOS disk to book the computer up, and the only useful programs were Wordstar and Lotus 1-2-3, when computers were not an integral part of middle-class households.
That being said, they're not exactly on the bleeding edge of technology. Their cell phones are still the basic models with no internet access. They use email and my dad browses the internet to manage his financial portfolio, but I'm still not convinced they know how to get to my blog, let alone share my witty and cleverly written blog posts with their friends (what good are parents for if not to brag about their kids' accomplishments?). I'm sure they have no idea what Twitter or Skype is, because none of their contemporaries use it.
Not so with Facebook. Lately I've been friending more and more of my aunts and uncles, so I know some of their friends must be on Facebook too. Facebook is exactly the kind of social network they would love, because they have lots of friends, old classmates and relatives scattered around the world. So when I wrote out my Forty Before Forty list, I made sure I included "Get my mom and/or dad to join Facebook".
Turns out, I didn't need to worry. Two weeks ago, I received a Facebook Friend Request from my dad. Dang if he hadn't gone and done it himself! If only completing every item on my Forty Before Forty list were this easy.
I quickly accepted my dad's friend request, and asked why he had finally decided to join. Apparently, he had finally gotten wind of the fact that we, his kids, post dozens (and in my sister-in-law's case, hundreds) of photos of his beloved grandchildren on Facebook, and only bother to email him one or two. Now he can drool over his long-distance grandkids to his heart's content -- but knowing him, he'll soon be creating group pages for his Rotary Club and his med school buddies and organizing family reunions over Facebook!
I'm so glad my dad's on Facebook; I know he'll have lots of fun with it. And I get to check one more item off my Forty by Forty list..... but I just might have to replace it with another item:
21) Get dad to change his profile pic from awful generic Facebook avatar to an actual photo.