A couple weeks ago, I received an e-mail I never expected would come: “Vicki Nesbitt wants to be friends with you on Facebook.”
Vicki is my mother, the same person who – after receiving a text message – pointed to the screen and asked me: “What’s this envelope thing on my cellphone?”
I accepted her friend request, taking the plunge into this new world where baby boomers are discovering social media and connecting with their children online. At 33, I’m not worried about what she’ll see on my wall. I’m pretty tame, and the photos of me turning over police cars were destroyed long before Mark Zuckerberg entered Harvard.
If anything, I’m the adult in this electronic relationship. After my mom got “poked” for the first time, I had to explain that it’s not always a good idea to poke back.
“People are writing me messages,” she said. “What should I write back?”
“Don’t put anything you wouldn’t want your employer to see,” I said.
As I watched her connect with people she hadn’t seen in years and flip through their pictures on her iPhone, it reminded me of a baby discovering how wheels work for the first time. Once a kid figures out that, with a gentle push, you can send that toy truck racing across the kitchen floor, there’s no going back to the wooden blocks.
And so instead of reading books and magazines, my mom is now slowly spending more time checking what her friends posted on Facebook. Like most of us, she’s been bitten by the digital zombie and highly likely to infect another person.