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February 19, 2009

Facebook at 50

Mail.google.com Much has been written about the 35+ crowd joining Facebook. I have read that this is the fastest growing demographic. 

But Facebook at 50? Not so surprising, really. 

In the past 2 months there has been an explosion of friend requesting and new members in this age group. Perhaps it is the idea of turning 50 and beyond, or maybe just that life has gotten harder these days and people want to revisit the times when life was more carefree. Comfort food of the web, if you will. Whatever the reason, Facebook is no longer a place for just the younger members of the family.

Parents are now joining Facebook in droves, but not without a battle with their teenagers who are simply appalled that mom and dad are social networking. Imagine the outrage, paranoia and sheer disgust that teens have thinking their parents could actually have a social life on the internet. Eye rolling, foot stamping, forbidding even! 

Seriously, I really do understand their point of view. Facebook belonged to THEM. It was their domain, something that they did and we simply did not. And the idea of their parents lurking around their virtual neighborhoods of socialization has got to be threatening. 

But hey kids, chill. We don't want to hang with your friends, we have plenty of our own! Current friends that we do not always have the time to chat with and ones from the past that we get a real kick out of reconnecting with. We like to share too.


Honestly, there are those that I have lost touch with and would probably prefer to keep it that way. But for the most part it has been fun to find people from years ago and see how they turned out. Kind of like the reunion without the bad food.

I originally joined Facebook for work reasons. I needed to be able to understand the way the community worked and learn the possibilities and opportunities for brands and not-for-profits that I do work with – it became embarrassing to have to keep asking my kids what about the terminology. Purposely joining using my maiden name, that I also use professionally, I was able to draw the line and distance the family me from the professional one. 

What I did not realize was that it would be hard to mix this all up with my past. Hey, we all have one. And frankly, the 70s were a speckled time. There are things that 'you' and I have shared that might be fun to reminisce about but really! In view of everyone in my network?

Um, I don't think so! 

Perhaps the geezer crowd needs a few lessons in Facebook etiquette. Guys, there is an option to send a private message, use that when you want to take that little walk down memory lane about whatever it is we were stupid enough to do when we were young. 

And the pictures, please be kind. Yeh, well, my hair has taken some unfortunate turns over the years. I suppose I will have to suffer the humiliation of all its iterations, but at least I was wrinkle free and thinner back then. Not a bad trade off. But what we all must realize, especially in light of the new Terms of Service controversy, is that just like we tell our kids, PICTURES ON THE INTERNET ARE THERE FOREVER. Simply put, don't be stupid. That means don't post pictures of anyone that you would not break out in a public setting.

Most of all, don't friend your high school and college-aged family members. This puts them in the awkward position of having to give you only limited access. Or worse of having to ignore your request. Just like we do not belong socializing with their friends in real life, we have no business being in their social networks. Cut the virtual cord and let them be. We need to park those helicopters and stop hovering.

Taking this one step further, a friend told me a story the other night that made my jaw drop. She signed onto Facebook to find a friend request from...

her 80-year-old mom!

Original 50-something Moms Blog post. Posted by Amy Zimmerman. Amy also blogs at i could cry but i dont have time and leaving the zip code.


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