Thursday, June 10, 2010

I AM A (VIRTUAL) SOCIAL BUTTERFLY


I regularly encounter looks of total disbelief and mild contempt from my peers who cannot believe that a reasonably intelligent, middle aged woman (such as I) would be involved in social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. On discovery of my partiality to such sites, I wait to be asked if I am excited about the new season of Big Brother. I am an intelligent, middle aged woman – I hate Big Brother. But I love my virtual life!

Twitter is probably my favourite. It is like being at a busy party with lots of conversations going on at the same time. You can join in or opt out at will. Perfect. I totally get Twitter and have many Twitter friends with whom I tweet daily!

Facebook is another proposition and can be fraught with hidden perils. Some months ago, I signed up and got a profile together. I put a few photos up, linked to some friends and writer colleagues and mainly used it to shout about new blog posts! Then I realised that no matter how careful I was with the photos I put up on my profile, others are free to post their photos with you in them and tag you. So like it or not – the image of you from the mid 80s arrives on your newsfeed. A wee bit un-nerving alright – not to mention highly embarrassing!

Then my daughter’s friends began to send me ‘friend requests’ and it seemed rude to say no. So you accept the ‘friendship’ of 9 and 11 year olds and feel like a trendy mom until your email inbox gets clogged with gifts of animals of all descriptions from FarmVille. . You are asked to mind people’s virtual sheep and goldfish. You get bunches of spring flowers and hearts sent whizzing along the internet highway in your direction. This bestows a feeling of being very busy. Sorry I can’t do dinner just yet, I have to milk the cows on some child’s farm.

Older daughter is 22 and some of her 1.5 million friends have become my Facebook friends too. This brings a different problem altogether. I now get news of each night out, of who was the drunkest and the photos to prove it. This I definitely don’t need. They are getting older now, so this activity is beginning to slow down and my nerves are slightly less frazzled.

The worst aspect of Facebook and the one thing that is guaranteed to make someone my vintage feel very worried indeed is the Friend Request from someone you know you should remember but you don’t. This is enough to send you running off to the nearest memory clinic immediately to get an assessment of just how bad your dementia is.

Did I mention LinkedIn. No? Well that’s ‘cos I don’t get it at all. There is no action on LinkedIn. Nothing to do. And worse of all it doesn’t make me feel loved. No, not at all!
Twitterers photo by lindayshaver

17 comments:

  1. I'm still trying to figure out Twitter and Facebook. However, a year ago I would have said I'd never be on either. Go figure.

    Mason
    Thoughts in Progress

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  2. I laughed out loud at the thoughts of all those virtual hearts and sheep Barbara! I don't get tweeting or facebook really - afraid I'd spend even more time at the computer if I started - I'm meant to be cooking dinner now and I'm still on line (laughiing online though, thanks!)

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  3. I am not big on Twitter because I can never find the people that I want to Tweet. I do do Facebook and have found a bunch of people that I haven't seen in over 40 years. I don't get LinkedIn either. There are so many of these places, who has time to go to them all.

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  4. Great post, Barbara, as always! I also love Twitter but use FB to connect with old friends I thought were long lost and lots of cousins and immediate family. I hate being tagged in other's photos though! LinkedIn is very businessy and great for networking and finding things out. I have used it for years in business with great success. It's not social like Twitter though. On FB, you can 'hide' the kids you don't really want to follow, without insulting them. :)

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  5. My husband was on fb and got the friend requests from 14 year old girls who were friends of our son and that freaked him out so bad he cancelled it. He wasn't really using it anyway but especially considering there was a man his age in our neighborhood who was accused of molestation and no one knew if it was true or not. The man kept claiming it was false. So my husband said, I'm off Facebook! I don't need this kind of thing!

    Where's you twitter button Barbara? I'm on there now and am not following you yet.

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  6. None of my friends are on twitter so I think they think I'm a techno-geek, they don't understand my obsession with it. As for LinkedIn in my humble opinion, it's just a network for people to show off what degree they did, then post-grad blahdy, blah - Boring!

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  7. I know I need to get onto Tweeter, but I've been dragging my feet. I'm going to have to bite the bullet and do it. Thanks for giving me a boost.

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  8. Oh No! Linked In.....another one....I can't cope! I like and understand facebook. Twitter is another story. I can't get over the lessons drummed into me, do not interrupt people and joining in conversation I have not been invited to join.

    I have drawn the line at sheep sitting! Not into the farm life, be it real or vitural. LOL
    Great fun Barbara!

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  9. Hello ladies.. thanks for the comments.
    Mason - stick with it. Seriously there is lots of info that is useful to be found on both!
    Niamh - yeah you are right.. its all a great way to lose hours!
    Hi Marge - yep Facebook is great with connecting with old friends/colleagues... if you can remember who they are!
    Maya - and thanks for tip about hiding friends(great if you could also do that sometimes in real life... lol)
    Karen - can understand your husbands reluctance to continue on Facebook - but a shame isnt it! And thanks for alerting me to my missing Twitter button - will rectify that. Dunno where it has gone off to!
    MoaM - thanks and I totally agree with you about LinkedIn
    Hi Kathi - see you on Twitter where I am @aurora111
    Hi Ann - yeah I like Twitter cos I have no problem barging into any conversation I feel like joining. Lol

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  10. I'd nearly join up for the virtual sheep, Barbara, I can just about manage Blogging and email thats about it for me in the virtual world.

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  11. Love twitter, never really took to facebook - never tried linked-in - that's me in a nutshell! :-)

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  12. Virtually brilliant....

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  13. Funny post Barbara! I sometimes wonder if those kids feel a bit awkward sending pics of themselves to the Older Generation. Back in the day (cough, cough) we never even told our parents what we were up to never mind send them actual evidence! Times are changing

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  14. Ah yes, then there's the messages about messages on FB, Tw, L-in and other websites all reminding you you don't have time for all this stuff!!! Another wonderful read. Lovin' it Barbara! Xo

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  15. This is hilarious! I prefer twitter to facebook too. I think more writers use twitter and it's just less hassle. Farmville is one thing that drives me crazy about facebook and I'm not one to trawl through other people's photos, probably because they look like they have a more exciting life than mine!
    Long live twitter!

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  16. Barbara, a sheer pleasure to read this post. What a treat! I absolutely love your sense of humor.

    You have just scratched the surface of some of the many reasons why I will never be part of the Facebook "community".

    TWITTER RULES! If folks don't get it it's because....well...they don't get it. They need to find someone to help them navigate it. Twitter is the most intelligent social networking site in existence today -- you get to meet all kinds of fascinating people from all over the world. If you know how to take advantage of it, that is. A lot of people don't.

    I liken it to a bit of a mystic crossword puzzle. I am always learning from it.

    Keep up the fantastic writing, Barbara....have followed you on Twitter, I hope to see you there. Me I blog about topics relevant to older women -- I believe older women have an inherent eroticism that younger women can only dream of!

    Ciao...Jesse

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