Friday, March 6, 2009

The Graying and Balding of Facebook

I was recently "friended" by two professors at other universities whose names I recognized, but whom I did not know personally. This puzzled me. Without "confirming" them, I wrote to each one saying, "Hi stranger! What explains this sudden overture of friendship?" I suppose it was like, someone knocks at your door, and you hold the chained door open just an eye's width, and you say, "Yeah, who are you, and what do ya want?" Who "friends" people they don't even know?

Well, according to Lev Grossman at Time magazine, lots of people. At least it is true of people my age. It's called "networking." Boy, do I feel stupid now.

In "Why Facebook is for Old Fogies," he gives 10 reasons why the social networking site originally developed for high school students is becoming the haunt of the middle aged. I'll just give the headings. You can follow the link to the article for your own moment of illumination. Grossman writes:

1. Facebook is about finding people you've lost track of. And, son, we've lost track of more people than you've ever met. ...
2. We're no longer bitter about high school. ...

3. We never get drunk at parties and get photographed holding beer bottles in suggestive positions. We wish we still did that. But we don't.
4. Facebook isn't just a social network; it's a business network. ... [This is where I found my moment of illumination.]

5. We're lazy. ...

6. We're old enough that pictures from grade school or summer camp look nothing like us. ...
7. We have children. There is very little that old people enjoy more than forcing others to pay attention to pictures of their children. Facebook is the most efficient engine ever devised for this.
8. We're too old to remember e-mail addresses. You have to understand: we have spent decades drinking diet soda out of aluminum cans. That stuff catches up with you. ...

9. We don't understand Twitter. Literally. It makes no sense to us.
10. We're not cool, and we don't care. ...

So what happened to those two professors? One got back to me, saying something about a mutual friend, so I cheerfully confirmed him, fearing that otherwise I would deeply offend him at that point. The other one I seem to have scared off completely. I feel bad about that.

Nonetheless--call me old-fashioned--I have no interest in my "friends" list resembling the Nassau County telephone book (if you remember what a telephone book is).

2 comments:

Dilawar Khan said...

Amen.

Jason Poquette said...

So glad I made it onto your friends list prior to greater stringencies, scrutiny and selectiveness being enforced! :)

Great post...