Thursday, March 5

Hip Hip Hooray or Oh, My Aching Back!

I can't tell you how much I love it that the old geezers have taken over Facebook. I can't tell you how much I love that. But I'm gonna try.

I love it that a social networking site, created, built and maintained by the whatever-letter-generation they're called (I can't be bothered keeping up with such things) is growing and thriving not with the help of their peers, but with the help of their parents' peers (or in some cases, their grandparents'). I'm giddy.

I've been thinking about what that's about. Is it that young people, who may have never known "community" or the experience of running into all your friends while trick-or-treating after dark (with no parents along, of course--parents don't go trick-or-treating, they stay home and give out candy, frevvins sake!), imagined that they could create it while sitting alone in front of a keyboard? A generation looking for connection, but for some reason unable to find it in the "real" world? I'm not sure whether it has occured to anyone that it might help to remove the earbud from one ear, the bluetooth headset from the other, and put the cell phone away? (the irony of this is that I just read the earbud story courtesy of one of my "old" friends on Facebook!)

Don't get me wrong. I have earbuds. I have a cell phone. I even send text messages. I'm as addicted to my iphone as anyone else.

But I also remember community. I remember when there was no such thing as "playdates". You just went outside, or knocked on a door, or went down to the local ice cream store, and hung out with friends. And then you came home when you were hungry, or it was dark, or someone told you to. And the amazing thing is that all those people, the ones who sat on the stainless steel aluminum cases at the ice cream shop, the ones who I only knew by their "camp names", even the ones that tortured me as a child, bullying me in school...they're all on Facebook.

(I'm realizing here that my references make it sound like I grew up in Mayberry, which I most definitely did not. And I'm also realizing that if you know that reference, my point is probably already made. Speaking of Mayberry, there's someone I haven't found yet...the hometown friend of my next door neighbor in my freshman dorm in college...we took English comp together. We sat in the back and made jokes about the small-town naivete of our professor, who I now realize was probably a grad student, now that I know such things. One time, when I walked in for an exam, tense as a result of being ill prepared, he--the friend of a friend, not the professor--started softly whistling the theme song. It loosened me right up, and still makes me laugh more than 30 years later. I'm gonna go look for him on Facebook when I'm done here. Remind me.)

I have been contacted by people from my high school that doesn't exist anymore that I can't even believe remember me (I was largely a non-entity in high school). I am in regular contact with my friends from summer camp. I have reconnected with one of my dearest friends from second grade, with whom I walked home from school and said and did the goofy things that only second graders do--and we have the privilege of understanding for the first time the whys and hows of our connection at seven years old and share our amazement that some thread of it persists after all these years. I am able to marvel at the photos of my friends' children, who are older than some of my coworkers, and probably older than the folks who started Facebook. And I'm part of a current community, getting to know my friends right down the street a whole lot better than I might otherwise, in our hurried and overcommitted lives. 

So I guess what I'm saying is that I have to face it. Again. I'm a statistic, a blatant example of a market demographic. It happened to me once before several years back when ownership of my first ipod sold me irrevocably on Apple products (exactly as they intended...damn!). And now here I am again.

I've always been pretty attached to my anarchic, rebel self--well, maybe not always, but recently, anyway (yes, I realize that "recently" is a relative term). I wear what I want (which brings to mind another recent FB conversation on the rules and restrictions regarding the wearing of linen in the winter months--of course, I was in the "who gives a flying #&*, wear whatever you want" camp). I accept that I'm "odd" (I've now learned that when that happens, you just remind yourself that you're an artist--it works every time). I know I use too many parentheticals. And ellipses. Too bad.

I think it's cool that the old farts are takin' over the airwaves. Wait. I think "airwaves" is not the current (or correct) term. Maybe that just proves my point.

I gotta go. The world in which "friend" is a verb is calling. See ya there.


martha said...

1. I'm also guilty of parentheticals (why is that?)
2. How does one explain one's oddness when one ISN'T an artist? I haven't figured that out yet.

Old minds want to know.

MaryO said...

I love parentheses. They are for those of us (not to sound egotistical [and what is the difference between an egoist and an egotist?]) who produce several layers of ideas at once.

Alena said...

Robin, let me speak as a representative for Generation Y (I'm pretty sure that's what we are) and welcome you and all of your cohorts to fb. I, for one, am thrilled to have you. Love the blog!