Here's the problem I have with the premise of this piece in the NY Times about parents joining Facebook and MySpace.
My generation invented the goddamn internet.
Our kids need to get over the fact that their parents are tech-savvy. I'm not a geekonoid who texts his friends in l33t-speak (though I can translate it a bit and I got most of the references in "White and Nerdy") or who can run a Linux-based computer, but I do know my way around the internet world. And I'm far from alone. The tech gap between my daughter and me is much narrower than it was between my parents and me. The jokes about getting your nine-year-old to program your VCR are a little stale these days.
But the problem isn't parents who are connected--we've been connected, because it was us or our friends who built the connections in the first place. So when I see exchanges like this:
“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.”
I reply with what parents have been saying for millennia. Get over yourselves. I was posting on Prodigy message boards when you were 2.
Okay, so maybe I'm more of a geek than the average parent.
The writer, Michelle Slatalla, does ask Facebook a good question--will Facebook opening up their service to everyone kill their core younger group? They don't think so. The spokesperson she talked to said that 50% of Facebook users are outside of college now, and I'm not surprised. Of my 49 facebook friends, only 19 are students (my former students, who found me and added me--I have a strict rule against having current students as Facebook friends). The rest are former fraternity brothers, real life friends, people I went to school with back in the day, and a couple of people I know online from the blog world. In other words, the people I might have exchanged letters or phone calls with a generation ago.
Besides, I doubt our kids will be hanging on Facebook very long anyway. They're flighty, and are always looking for something new, and will move on. And we will follow them, because that's what parents do.