Thursday, May 7, 2009

My Mom is on Facebook and It Sucks


This morning I had an email from my mom. This isn’t all that notable except for what she wrote:

Hi,

I see you deleted the comment on facebook. Don’t really understand your explanation but that’s okay. Just wondered what kind of ocd I exhibited. Think you tap dance pretty well.

Mom

WTF was my mom talking about? And where did she get this snarkiness? I “tap dance pretty well”? Anyone who knows me knows I can’t dance, much less tap! But let’s turn back the clock for some context...

A few weeks ago, my older brother introduced our mother to Facebook. Why? I don’t know. My brother does a lot of questionable things, like voluntarily living in Arkansas, but I guess he thought it would be a way for Mom to reconnect with her friends and family. I learned about this decision by way of a friend request…from my mom.

No warning, no “Hey, I’m hooking mom up on Facebook.” email ahead of time so I could decide how to handle it. But it’s mom. You can’t deny a friend request from your mom…can you?

So I accepted and decided I’d just be more “aware” of my Facebook behavior. That lasted about a day.

There was no way I could “un-friend” my mom, so the next step was quarantine. I’d already had my brother and his wife semi walled-off, so I added mom to the “Family – Arkansas” list I’d created and tightened up the restrictions even more, rendering the whole intent of Facebook (constant, personal connection) pretty much useless for my family and I. Victory!

Except for the whole “feeling like crap because I just shut out my mom” thing.

Unable to live with myself after dropping the Facebook hammer on my family, I decided to compomise. I left the restrictions in place but I created a family page and invited all of them to be members. FB, I guess,realized a lot of folks are going to have the same sort of conflicts I just had and conveniently created “Family Pages” to solve the problem. Now I can put videos and pics of my daughter there, have private discussions with my family and not have to worry about my personal life being exposed to mom and my hopefully adopted brother. Everyone wins! Drinks all around!

But something was wrong. Apparently despite the walled garden I had created, despite the special restrictions I had set in place to prevent mom from seeing anything I posted on Facebook, she still saw links. I can’t explain why except to say that Facebook are damn dirty liars when they say “Status and Links”. They mean “Status”.

The fact that my mother could see links I posted wasn’t by itself a horrible thing. It’s not like I’m posting links to horrible, shameful stuff or photos of me SOOO WASTED LAST NIGHT! It’s just that the conversations that might come up as a result are not necessarily ones I’d want to have with her. (a quick review of my posting history proves I really don’t have anything all that embarassing. Maybe some dumb status messages. Guess I’m just paranoid. Not sure that’s better.)

So now we’re up to yesterday. I came across a nice link via Kottke.org about a graphic designer who for fun was taking the complete discography of the Wu-Tang Clan (both as a group and solo efforts) and reworking the covers into the Blue Note style of old jazz albums. Pretty great stuff. In fact, when I posted the link to FB, I wrote “Pretty great…” and that was it.

But Facebook likes to do you a favor and include a bit of text from the site you link to. It throws in the first few lines to give a bit of context to folks. The lines for this particular post turned out to be:

“A little while ago I put a bunch of Wu-Tang (both group and solo) albums on my computer. 21 of them, in fact. I inherited some mild OCD from my mom, and as anyone who has seen my iTunes can attest to, it manifests itself in weird ways.”

Again, that’s from the site, not me. As far as I know, neither my mother nor I suffer from OCD. Though, to be fair, I don’t think we’ve been properly tested, so, who knows.

Sometime later after posting the link, I notice a comment from my mom. How is this possible? I thought I blocked mom from seeing this stuff? (see above about Facebook being dirty liars). Her comment:

"Whaddya mean, you inherited some "mild OCD" from your mom!"

Oh hell. With no way to tell if she was joking, I decided to assume she was and help her out:

Haha, Mom. 1. I thought I had set FB so you wouldn't see links I posted, so...that's fun. but 2. I only wrote "So great...". The part you're reading comes from the site I linked to. FB grabs the first few lines of text when you link, for context I guess. So no OCD from you.

All good, right? Case closed? Nope. This morning I get that email:

Hi,

I see you deleted the comment on facebook. Don’t really understand your explanation but that’s okay. Just wondered what kind of ocd I exhibited. Think you tap dance pretty well.

Mom

So now, thanks to a combination of my brother, Facebook and mom’s limited grasp of social networking, my mother thinks I can tap dance. Well, even. 


UPDATE: I responded to her with a mom-friendly version of "WTF?" and she apologized for not understanding how stuff works and for generally being a crotchety old lady. All is right in the world again. But I'm giving serious thought to un-friending her and my brother.

8 comments:

Emil Rodriguez said...

Hey Will, I just invited your mom to Fizzle Pop. That's not a metaphor either. She's a contributor here now. Watch what you say!

Will Tucker said...

I just invited *your* mom to Facebook, but she's addicted to those damn "Top 5" lists, so I might cut her loose. Also, she apparently would be "Say Anything" if she were an 80's movie, which I thought was interesting, given how much she looks like John Cusack. SICK BURNNNNNN!!!

angie said...

hey will, it could be worse... you could have accidentally friended your mom once upon a time, and then posted a status update something like "thinking of calling in fat tomorrow". you know, a joke? and then you could get a three paragraph email from your mom about how you're too hard on yourself and are very beautiful on the inside.

Will Tucker said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdYQX8J-FFo

Emil Rodriguez said...

This conversation turned from something so angry into something so... so beautiful.

JP said...

Mom's just don't belong on Facebook. Even if you had one of those cool and hip moms that made updates like "Got so wasted at Incubus last night, can't hear s**t this morning," you'd just be just as embarrassed.

Katie Page said...

This is why I continue to ignore my mom's friend request.

Kristin Fontanilla said...

Ah well. My mom still has trouble turning on her phone much less know about social networking.

Which is actually really awesome.