Social networking runs thicker than blood?
by Jane Park
I don’t like that my worlds collide on the Internet.
Maybe because I have to be more careful – with ex-boyfriends, professors and co-workers watching through the same news feed.
But mostly because my mom jumped on the bandwagon and recently joined Facebook. With a few clicks, she was on and life for me became a bit more complicated.
I still haven’t approved her friend request, which she sent almost immediately after joining. It’s the elephant in my Notifications folder.
We already share a mutual friend (my sister). My mom’s profile picture is a shot of her and my dad on a Hawaiian beach. And she has a solid list of nine friends – comprising folks from BSA Troop 72 and her weekly Bible study group.
At some point I plan to become her 10th friend. But not before I find the time to sift through hundreds of photos, de-tag myself from questionable albums and delete all four notes where I rant about her.
I’ve been Facebook friends with my dad, who was quicker to learn Web 2.0, for a year now. For a year I’ve successfully managed to align wall posts and photo tags with my excuses for not calling home. But it’s exhausting, and I suspect it’ll require more energy to do the same with my sleuth of a mom, who’s kept all my friends’ phone numbers on file since I was in grade school, should I avoid her call.
I think my parents find it comforting that they have me on an invisible leash that reaches across two time zones. Me in Chicago, them in Cerritos, California.
But I find it problematic, because if I edit myself for an audience of two, I lose an audience of 700.
In my parents’ world, a good time doesn’t include beer and an appropriate outfit has sleeves and legs. And any Facebook activity after 10 p.m. warrants a comment like, “Not in bed, yet?” I’m 24 years old.
I’m not ready for the Web to close that gap, that comfortable buffer – of 20-some years.
Nor do I think Facebook is quite ready; otherwise, wouldn’t offer a Limited Profile list option. That’s where my mom will live when I friend her. And my 12-year-old baby cousin can join her there, too.