To friend or not to friend

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. Continue reading

It’s complicated: My relationship with Facebook

I deleted my Facebook account about a year ago. The novelty of connecting with people I hadn’t seen or heard from in years had worn off. Posting status updates or pictures felt fickle, and I wanted to spend more time doing things like reading books or exercising.

Before I clicked on the “Are you sure you want to do this?” button for the fifth time, I asked a friend of my late father whether he thought my dad would have liked Facebook. “Absolutely not,” he said. “You’re father was a face-to-face kind of guy. He didn’t even like talking on the phone.”

I felt good about my decision but received a lot of flak from friends. I think some of them took it as a personal insult. “How could you do this, especially now that you live in China?” was a question I heard a lot.

I told them that I thought Facebook was creating a narcissistic society, where adults competed for attention like children. The Onion once called Facebook a high school yearbook that keeps updating after you graduate. I thought a more appropriate comparison was People magazine, which publishes pictures of celebrities attending exclusive parties, holding hands with a new significant other and pushing a newborn in a stroller – the same kinds of pictures that people often post on Facebook. Continue reading