By Sommerly Simser, Multimedia Managing Editor
No college student is complete without his or her expensive textbooks, caffeinated drinks, laptop, iPod, student ID and, of course, a Facebook account.
When Facebook launched five years ago, it was the social networking tool, almost like a little black book or phone book, for the elite crowd of college students. Eventually, high school students also joined the social sphere.
Today, ACU professors, faculty and staff log onto Facebook just as often as their students, and it seems the majority of students welcome the older generations.
I was one of those students, until it all came to a crashing halt two weeks ago – my parents took the plunge and joined Facebook.
It once was cool to become ‘Facebook friends’ with the parents of my friends. Parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles on Facebook are becoming all the rage. I think it is their attempt at trying to stay ‘hip.’
The trend probably would not be so bad, but, unfortunately, it is impossible to censor everything they say at all hours of the day and night, and not quickly deleting embarrassing baby photos or wall posts about their upcoming hip replacement surgeries is a nightmare.
The fastest growing demographic on Facebook is the 35-49 year olds and the 50-64 year olds, according to the Nielsen Media Research group. Yet, the younger audience still outweighs the growing, elderly Facebook population. It has roughly 23 million users in the U.S. alone, while the older age group consists of little more than 12 million.
We are not bombarding their bingo halls or gobbling up all their early bird specials, so why do they have to invade our Facebook pages and befriend our friends and the parents of our significant others? Can they not just stay glued to their televisions watching The Price is Right, smelling of BENGAY?
If you break up with whomever you are dating, your parents will be informed instantly, and the possibility looms that they may click on the “Likes this” option, making it blatantly obvious for everyone to see that they did not approve of the person from the beginning. Or worse, they could try and set you up with some young kid they recently became friends with on Facebook.
What are they going to do next, begin sending out event invitations for their latest friend’s 80th birthday or funeral? And what if they develop carpal tunnel syndrome or injure their backs while leaning over their computer screens for hours, stalking our friends and current love interests? We would never hear the end of it.
If they keep this up, it will be enough to drive me to join a jazzercise class and quit Facebook all together. Or perhaps I will just stay home and watch The Price is Right, while slathering on the BENGAY.
posted 4/03/09 @ 2:38 AM CST
Wow, such a Christian comment. But never fear, m’dear, your time will come. (I recall how horrified I was on my 30th birthday… that such a thing could happen!)
Grace Abston Simpson
posted 4/03/09 @ 9:29 AM CST
I read your opinion about older facebook participants tainting your experience. Are we a drama queen? I recently opened a facebook account after my oldest daughter’s mother-in-law encourage me to join. It has been interesting to catch up with friends who have moved away, those from high school and college. I have had some friends of my grad student asked me to be their friends – I did not ask them. I resent your remarks “Can they not just stay glued to their televisions watching The Price is Right, smelling of BENGAY?” “What are they going to do next, begin sending out event invitations for the latest friend’s 80th birthday or funeral.” I am 51 and still a contributing member of society. I work full time and when off I have a very full social life. No, I don’t go to bingo parlors or go to early bird specials. I have more important and interesting things to do. No, I don’t post embarrassing things on my wall or my daughters’ walls nor do I post embarrassing pictures – in fact I haven’t looked at my daughters’ walls in five or six days. Perhaps your parents are much older and don’t have much of a life but I do. You made a comment that facebook was for “the elite crowd”. It seems to me that you are the one with the ‘issues’ and need to get overyourself.
posted 4/03/09 @ 7:32 PM CST
Clearly Sommerly’s column made your blood boil because you not only picked it apart, you picked her apart. Her opinion was soley satirical in nature, but your response smacked of self-righteous indignation. I suppose Sommerly’s column was a success because you went right to your computer and blogged about it. Best regards, Sommerly’s mom.
posted 4/06/09 @ 1:46 PM CST
Wow. I think your response was full of self righteous indignation. I think that Ms. Simpson’s response looked like a loving, tongue-in-cheek comment that represents my generation so well. I only hope that you can see the important points she is trying to make.
Grace Simpson’s 1st cousin Mitchell
posted 4/07/09 @ 2:46 AM CST
Mitchell, 1st cousin to Grace Simpson
First, I want to commend your chivalry, a trait that seems lost on the “me generation.” I am sure that Ms. Simpson felt vindicated by your support. Secondly, I do recognize the points that Ms. Simpson was trying to convey. Remember, I am from Ms. Simpson’s generation and probably yours as well. But, I stand behind my words with a cheerful and loving heart. A personal attack on Sommerly is just that in a nut shell and any attempt to disguise it is delusional. I suggest, instead of having a war of words, that we concentrate our energy on something that is redeemable such as praying for the protection of Israel. Sincerely, Sommerly’s mom, Rebecca
posted 4/07/09 @ 12:47 PM CST
I was not attacking Sommerly. She gave what was supposed to be her opinion and I gave what was mine. She kept on and on with the stereotypes – playing bingo, watching The Price is Right, smelling of Bengay, etc. and I wanted to give my opinion. She is the one who stated Facebook was for the elite, I didn’t. You as her mother corrected her for run-on sentences. I don’t want to participate in a war of words either because it won’t get us any where and I have better things to do. All I did was read an opinion article and responded. How long are you going to fight her battles?
posted 4/07/09 @ 6:59 PM CST
I hoped my suggestion to focus on something meaningful would have been pondered by you. I was surprised to hear that instead, you chose to explain your position in what you were merely stating in your original response. I was fine with it, until I got to your question and now I feel compelled to answer it.
I don’t have to fight Sommerly’s battles for her. She is a very capable young woman and has the discernment to know when she is dealing with a nut. I, on the other hand, am more patient and give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I was taken aback by your personal attacks about being a “drama queen” and having “issues” to get over her self. You are entitled to your opinion, but don’t offer up psycho babble about someone else’s daughter! And further more, I hope you and your cousin will pray for peace and the protection of Israel. God will bless you if you do. Best regards, Rebecca Simser
posted 4/08/09 @ 12:07 AM CST
I am begining to believe your daughter can not fight her own battles. And I agree with Ms. Simpson, she was acting like a drama queen even if it was a poor attempt at satire.
And drop the praying for Israel thing, Pray for the world and its protection not just Israel. Thank you, and have a good day
posted 4/08/09 @ 3:45 PM CST
Mr. Hancock; First of all, we Christians should pray for Israel since they are Gods chosen people and yes I do believe in world peace. Peace on earth however will only come on the day that the Lord Jesus Christ returns to begin his thousand year reign. Secondly, you are certainly entitled to your opinion, however continuing to attack Ms. Simser and her daughter is silly. All of this over a satire -come on! I am of the 40 plus year crowd, but I did not feel compelled to beat down the young woman as you folks have. I can appreciate what she has to say even though I do not agree with her.
posted 4/08/09 @ 4:22 PM CST
In reference to Sommerly and her column; that ship already sailed and you were not on the boat, but thank you for your comment none-the-less. In reference to Israel, the apple of God’s heart, it is your duty as a Christian to pray for her sovereignty. I do pray for this world and people like you. Good luck in your military career and know that people are praying for your safety as well.
posted 4/15/09 @ 4:41 PM CST
Actually, I am praying for the Palestinians, many of which are decendents of the first Christians, when they are being slaughtered by the Israeli Army. I don’t think the “apple of God’s eye” should be having children walk through mine fields, should be gunning down terrified women with snipers, or should be bombing well designated hospitals filled with wounded women and children.
posted 4/16/09 @ 9:46 PM CST
Your view on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is narrow minded and incorrect. The IDF does not “gun down women with snipers” the Palestinian terrorists hide behind women and children when they fire on Israeli soldiers. Children are not forced to walk across mine fields, in fact the Israeli army is working to get rid of mines (placed by the Allied Arab armies of the past wars). Those hospitals they bomb had rockets and bullets coming out of them at Israeli troops.
While both sides are in the wrong, Israel is simply doing what it must to protect itself from complete destruction by arabs who want them completely wiped out and exterminated.
posted 4/24/09 @ 7:14 AM CST
I urge you to check out two web sites regarding Israel and Palestine. The first one, www.israelnewsagency.com will give you a very brief history of the region. The second one, www.cufi.com is an organization based out of San Antonio, TX. “The Torch” is a magazine published by CUFI concerning Israel and the Middle East. It can benefit anyone to become informed of God’s mandate for Christians concerning Israel. Sincerely, Rebecca Simser
posted 4/03/09 @ 9:41 AM CST
I agree with the other posters. This makes me so mad! If I didn’t just have hip replacement, I’d hobble up to the Optimist office and smack you with my cane — then I’d brag about it at bridge club. Now where did I put my reading glasses…?
posted 4/03/09 @ 9:45 AM CST
ROFLMAO — what a hoot! My family now has 3 generations on Facebook and it’s SO easy for everyone to keep up with everyone else. And yes, I’ve censored myself a couple times in order to keep peace with the older or younger set. I have nieces and nephews there along with my parents, aunts and uncles. Maybe the young one that wrote this will be thankful later that she had to self-censor so she wouldn’t be embarrassed in later years about something still floating out here on the tubes. 🙂 Now where’s my BenGay?
posted 4/03/09 @ 5:29 PM CST
Elderly? Think not that we of many years have short memories.
posted 4/03/09 @ 6:14 PM CST”
No college student is complete without his or her expensive textbooks, caffeinated drinks, laptop, iPod, student ID and, of course, a Facebook account.”
I am going to start by taking your advice on what it takes to be a college student. So far, I have a few expensive textbooks to teach me a thing or two, a laptop which I helped pay for, and my ever-handy student ID. But wait! I do not own an iPod or keep a fresh stock of caffeinated drinks in my room. I do not even have a Facebook. Admittedly I used to, but I chose to deactivate mine due to its distracting influence. So according to your “credible” standards, I apparently do not meet the requirements of a college student.
“It once was cool to become ‘Facebook friends’ with the parents of my friends. Parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles on Facebook are becoming all the rage. I think it is their attempt at trying to stay ‘hip.'”
For your information, I know several adults who joined Facebook to reconnect with friends from their grade school and college years. Who cares if they befriend people our age, especially when we are related to them or have known them for years? In addition, I do not believe it was their intention to impose upon the lives of thousands of innocent college kids just to maintain their sense of youth.
“We are not bombarding their bingo halls or gobbling up all their early bird specials, so why do they have to invade our Facebook pages and befriend our friends and the parents of our significant others? Can they not just stay glued to their televisions watching The Price is Right, smelling of BENGAY?”
Wow! Do you realize the stereotypes you are invoking? I suppose in the world you grew up in, all adults over 50 seemed like this. However, you really should stop and think this comment through. By accusing these adults of “invading” your Facebook pages you are more or less characterizing them as giddy little stalkers who take wicked delight in the misadventures of hapless adolescents. Oh! And I would love to see just how many of these same adults actually do sit with their eyes glued to the television screen watching “The Price is Right” and proudly own a variety of BENGAY products. Hardly any of the adults in my family, I promise you that.
“If you break up with whomever you are dating, your parents will be informed instantly, and the possibility looms that they may click on the “Likes this” option, making it blatantly obvious for everyone to see that they did not approve of the person from the beginning. Or worse, they could try and set you up with some young kid they recently became friends with on Facebook.”
Is it safe to assume that all parents on Facebook wish to inquire about their children’s relationship status without personally consulting them at all? I am not going to assume this is a personal issue for you, but to question a parent’s judgment is certainly unwise.
“What are they going to do next, begin sending out event invitations for their latest friend’s 80th birthday or funeral? And what if they develop carpal tunnel syndrome or injure their backs while leaning over their computer screens for hours, stalking our friends and current love interests? We would never hear the end of it.”
Alright, this is just cruel. To you, carpal tunnel syndrome might as well be just a minor muscle cramp. As Grace Simpson previously stated, she actively contributes to society in addition to many other individuals over 50.
“If they keep this up, it will be enough to drive me to join a jazzercise class and quit Facebook all together. Or perhaps I will just stay home and watch The Price is Right, while slathering on the BENGAY.”
Perhaps I am being too harsh, but you really should learn that Facebook isn’t everything. People actually live content lives out there without Facebook, or at least I am certain they find ways to survive. I also do not believe you are treating the older age group with fairness or respect. You see, just because some people who are over the ages of 40 and 50 want to reconnect with their old best friends or their distant family members does not necessarily they want to ruin your social life, however discreet it may be. There can exist a world where adults and youngsters coincide with each other’s social interests while still respecting their privacy. With the utmost respect, Sommerly, I would recommend that you write more sensible articles that are accessible to even us non-Facebook users.
posted 4/03/09 @ 7:02 PM CSTKudos, Sommerly for an excellent column (except for a few run-on sentences.) I agree with you, it must take the joy out of logging on to Facebook knowing there may be a perceived sinister remark from your parents to you or one of your friends…eeks! But I have to remind you, my generation not only invented the computer, but the internet as well. As fast as technology is evolving, I have decided I want to go out of this world keeping up with the times. I am not going to be like my parents generation and let time fly by as I rock in my rocking chair smelling like an old folks home. The same goes for my body, if it breaks down and I loose all my teeth, I will have plastic surgery and dental implants! I am going to use everything available to me that life has to offer. Oh my – how carnal I sound!! Love, mom.
posted 4/03/09 @ 11:04 PM CSTThis article was so funny. Thanks for the laugh. In refernce to all the negative remarks, I guess it’s true: our generation has different tastes in humor than our parents or grandparents. I really don’t think the writer was being mean, just funny. Surely someone else saw the humor in this? Because it’s so true 🙂
posted 4/05/09 @ 1:55 PM CSTPersonally I love having my parents on Facebook. I love having my aunts, and my great uncle. Most of all I love having my Grandma on there. It solves so many problems of phone calls that never end and details they want to know but you forget. Most importantly it allows them to see pictures of you at an important time in your life. If stuff on there is not appropriate for your parents then its not appropriate for your boss (who yes, is looking at Facebook to see what you do).
posted 4/06/09 @ 9:53 AM CSTI have to agree with Sommerly. After my mother joined Facebook, she would call every time I changed my status to something she didn’t like.
“What do you mean by that?” “Andrew, I think we need to talk…”
I looked at her Facebook page for the first time last week. Her and her friends, high school class of 1977, were giving their life stories on their walls, their notes, etc. Does the world really need to know that your friend’s son is a 24 year old accountant with no wife?
I think what bothers the younger generation is that the older generation hasn’t reached the point where they understand the balance between public and private spaces on the internet. A Facebook wall is public, so don’t post on it telling us all about your daughter’s difficult pregnancy, especially when you are only talking to one other person. Leave those things for Facebook messages or emails.
Of course, if you are posting crazy things and then Facebook-friend your parents, you are an idiot.
posted 4/06/09 @ 10:45 PM CSTAndrew…I want to know why you keep looking at their pages if you don’t like what they write on each others walls. You wrote that you just looked at your mom’s page for the first time the other day. If it bugged you that much with what you saw, then don’t go back to her page anymore. You say you don’t like it when she goes on your page, so why do you do it to her?
Inquiring minds want to know…
posted 4/07/09 @ 10:49 PM CSTMarybeth, my reasons are selfish.
Facebook pages, unless you know how to secure them, are public. So if she is posting things about me on her page, people will see it. Most of the time it is not a problem, but considering how people in my parents’ generation (40+) do not seem to understand the public nature of the internet, the potential is there for bad things to happen.
For good or ill, people spend their free time browsing Facebook. There is no privacy. With laptops, iPhone Facebook apps, automatic emails, etc. a single post revealing too much can be seen by thousands before it is taken down.
Because of all this, what goes on my mother’s Facebook is very much my business.
posted 4/16/09 @ 2:26 PM CSTMy ex-gf’s mom tended to be really nosey, so I didn’t want her to be my friend on facebook, because I felt like that would be a boundary she would abuse and not respect. Needless to say, she had a fit, and she thought I didn’t like her anymore. Kinda immature actually for being in her 40’s. So I personally did not like it for that reason.
As for the bickering. I wish I had the 5 minutes of my life back I wasted reading these comments.