Parents on Facebook: social networking between generations

Facebook is for friends... or so it used to be. The early adopters of this service proved that it is a great virtual medium for self expression, and the rest of the population is now jumping on the bandwagon. It used to be, at least for me, a place for my drunken freshman self to post shady-wasted photos of my friends and organize events. Way easier than having to call 50 some odd people to give them an invite. Then Junior year came around, and it dawned on me how much me how much my profile had changed over 2.5 years. It had matured and evolved, just as I had grown into a somewhat more responsible being. That brought up a thought in my mind... perhaps Facebook will survive a generational jump?

It was during that Junior year that my techno-trend impaired mother asked if there was any way for her to better share pictures with me. I proceeded to explain social networking, and the easy of the Facebook photo applet. Before that, she used to spam me with hundreds of attached photos to my email. To cease feeling bad about keeping my own mother on my spam list, I helped her set up an account. Sure enough, I had a new friend request pending a few days later. Friend accepted... I figured I'm a good enough kid so I have nothing to hide, right?

About a week later, I got a phone call from her. "That table in the background of one of your party pictures sure looks familiar..." She apparently browsed through my photo archives and found the album containing pictures of a party I threw in her house when my parents were on vacation. The picture was of my friend flashing his beer gut and man boobs, trying to distract the competition from winning at beer-pong on my mom's solid oak full-length dining table. Oops. Surprisingly enough, she started laughing on the phone... "I had no idea that ever happened, I'm impressed that you pulled it off". I was like, what?? I never thought of my parents as ever being able to switch off their parenting mode and appreciate some drunken shenanigans.

This goes to show that Facebook is becoming far more than just a college-aged demographic novelty. It's actually bringing aspects of different generations closer together, kind of like a Wii. I'm curious in 40 years what that generation will think of their elders after seeing scandalous photos of them doing keg stands, and peeing on dumpsters next to a police station (no comment). Maybe we will be the first 'cool' old people generation with all our youthful contributions all over the Internet.

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