She’s done it twice now: Requested to be my friend on Facebook.
The last time she tried was years ago — sometime when I was probably a sophomore in college and therefore way too cool to be friends, let alone Facebook friends, with my mom.
And then last week, out of nowhere, after years of peaceful, not being Facebook friends (punctuated only once or twice a week by a comment from her about the fact that I refused to be her friend), she did it again!
So, my mom is in Facebook purgatory — that feared place where you get no answer from your friend request. She’s just sitting on my requests page. And I’m leaving her there. Until I make up my mind what to do with her, at least.
This time, it’s not because I’m too cool for my mom. Now I realize that she’s probably too cool for me. No, this time, I’m leaving her in Facebook purgatory on principle.
What principle? The one that says: That is just not what Facebook is for.
Now, I’m aware that Mark Zuckerberg would probably disagree with me, seeing as how he opened Facebook up to everyone and their Mom (literally) not too long ago. And it’s not that I think that was a mistake. It’s that I never thought my mom would join — or anyone’s moms, for that matter.
I’m aware that my this post makes me immature; I know it makes me seem like I have something to hide. (I promise, I really don’t.)
You see, I am of the (only) generation that remembers what it felt like to get that college email address and finally be able to join Facebook. It was a big, fat deal to a high school senior. It was liberating. It meant you were really in college now (even though you still had 2 months left of high school).
This goes against everything Jeff Jarvis says about the free and open internet. But, I’m not in opposing the fact that anyone should have a Facebook, I’m just in opposition of my Mom using it to figure out just what I’ve been up to for the last four years in college.
I’m not paranoid, I promise. I have a Mom who spent most of her life as a reporter. She wants to know everything about all of her children, and she will find out. She once found my sister at a hostel in Florence, drunk at 2 am. Seriously, my sister walked in the door (tripped is probably more like it) and the Italian guy at the front desk says, “Dana? Your mo-zer ees on thee phone.”
Like I said, that is just not what Facebook is for. It’s not for networking, or job-hunting or growing a virtual garden. It’s for friends — friends that I would not keep in touch with otherwise, friends I can’t see everyday (and, yes, it’s for tracking who’s getting married and who dropped out and who’s dating and who broke up).
Facebook is for not forgetting birthdays and petitioning your school to have Stephen Colbert as your graduation speaker. In the words of another recent college graduate who finally accepted his mother’s friend request this summer, “it’s for picking up chicks.”
But, with the way things are going, it looks like I’ll have to give in sooner rather than later.
They say there is no privacy anymore, that headhunters and college counselors will find your facebook no matter what restrictions you’ve put up — and not hire you because of drunken pictures of you in Vegas or at a highlighter party, or drinking wine on a metro in Paris. They say that the world is online and online is open and you’d better open up to it or you’ll be left behind. At least, that’s what they’re telling us in J-School these days: Be public, be open, be linked, be your own brand.
Yes, it looks like I’ll have to open up, to be public and to let even my mom be my facebook friend.
–Eventually. She’s staying in purgatory for now.