Baby Boomers vs. Gen Y
Mom, daughter get different things from Facebook
Social networking can shrink, widen generation gap
Hi, I’m Joan, 65.
And I’m Whitney, 24.
We are a mother and daughter who have returned to Tucson after being away for a few years. Periodically, we'll discuss a single topic that we’ll come at from opposing generational perspectives: Baby Boomers vs. Gen Y. We welcome your comments and suggestions about what topics you’d like us to tackle next.
My mother is my Facebook friend.
I know a lot of people my age simply don’t let their family members befriend them on Facebook. But for me, having family as part of my Facebook roster is a constant reminder that: Hey, people can see this, so you’d better put your best foot forward, young lady! (Um, ignore that picture of me table-dancing at Applebee’s, Uncle Dave . . . and that one where I have two beers in each hand . . . untag, untag, untag!)
I have several friends my mother’s age, and it’s amusing to watch them discover Facebook apps for the first time, then act like they invented them.
These days, the invites to join people’s Farmvilles or Fishvilles or OtherSmallIndustryVilles don’t come from the coworkers and exes whom I stalk, they come from my mother’s book group. God bless the ability to block applications, instead of people, because Baby Boomers are really quite nice when they’re not obsessing with pixilated farms.
My mother recently fell victim to the evils that plague password-protected pages: phishers and hackers. When a comment showed up on my wall, ostensibly from Mom, saying, “OMG, you have to see this webpege!12” [sic] I was skeptical. Mom doesn’t use tweenybopper abbreviations, and she can spell.
I called to tell her she’d been hacked, and she changed all her passwords and alerted her friends accordingly. Didn’t stop it from happening again, nor did it stop her from clicking those advertisements that somehow mine your “friends” list, then use their names to lure you to their site. “Your friend Angela Humperdink just took our CLINICALLY PROVEN I.Q. test, and she thinks she’s smarter than you! PROVE HER WRONG!”
But you can’t really fault Baby Boomers for not knowing that you can’t trust the Interwebs. My younger friends have fallen for scams, too: I once got a wall post from a spambot posing as my friend Carlye (yes, that’s exactly how she spells her name…don’t ask me why) informing me that she had found pictures of me on some website and I’d better go look. I looked. It was a page full of gibberish, and it probably put spyware on my computer.
Youngsters can be suckers too.
I don't know why, but I took to Facebook right away.
I dislike the impartiality of the genre, though. It doesn’t seem real. I use Facebook to do important things, real things, like discussing issues and . . . uh, other really important things.
It seems that a lot of my young friends post things simply to garner as many responses as possible.
One asks general questions all the time, then he waits as the answers roll in. This is fun? This isn’t a total time-waster?
“What was the first concert you went to?” he posts. Or “What’s your favorite movie?” I didn’t answer those, because they’d end up being, “Little Richard” and “Easy Rider,” and I don’t know many people who would remember them. Hmm.
Another will write a quote and not credit it. Tons of her friends respond, asking if she wrote it or where it came from. “I feel like a fugitive from the law of averages,” was her latest entry. It was written in the 1940s by Bill Maudlin, as a caption for his one of his cartoons about “dogfaces,” foot soldiers in WWII. See, the problem is, I knew this. Yes, I did.
And what’s with the drunken profile pics? People see them, you know, and can copy and send them anywhere, unbeknownst to you.
My older friends don’t put up profile pictures at all, so the shadowy stock figures stare back at me from their pages. Or worse, they take one sitting in front of the computer with their eyes looking down. Flattering. They don’t post as often or accumulate as many friends as younger FBers do. When asked why they joined Facebook, they admit their kids told them to do it to keep in touch.
Hey, kids, it's too much even to email now, huh? It would cripple you? Back in the day, we got writer’s cramp writing things called “letters” . . . with pens and ink. Yeah, the pen and ink were separate, and we had to combine them.
Or we would type on papers that we cranked into a machine called a "typewriter," then plunk each key down really hard so a metal arm could swing up and make a mark through an inky ribbon onto the page. Sometimes we even had to clean the typewriter with a little brush, or change the ribbon. We would mail the letters to our friends in an envelope with a three-cent stamp, and . . .
Oh, wait a sec, people. I have to check my Facebook page to see what my egg hatched into. Hey, maybe someone found my stray cow. Gotta go.