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Facebook – Not Just for the Young

“Really, you do Facebook?” a friend asked.  Really, I do.  But I was skeptical when I first heard about social networking websites.  I thought such things were created by and for young people, not those of us who are considered over the hill.  My introduction to an online social network was listening to three young teacher friends while we ate lunch together.

“Did you see my Facebook post last night?”  Julie asked.

“No, what’d it say?”  Ann asked.

“I saw it,” said Cindy.  She turned to Ann.  “ Julie wanted to know whether she should wear her new walking shoes or her old ones when we walk after school today.”

“I’d wear the new ones.  What’d you tell her?”  Ann asked.

After listening quietly, I had to speak up.  “Wait.  I don’t understand.  Why’d you ask something like that online?  Couldn’t you all just talk to each other?”  The three laughed.  They insisted they were talking to each other.  “Is that the kind of thing people put on Facebook?”  I said.  For the rest of lunchtime, they told me what their friends had recently written and described pictures that had been posted.  I shook my head.  Some of it sounded like an old-fashion party line gossip.  But I did want to see pictures of a friend’s new house.  That was about six years and ­­­530 friends ago.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by a few friend requests.  “Are you the Mrs. Ray who taught 4th grade in Sparta a long time ago?”  Von asked. He linked me to other friends who were my very first students.  Now I know about Abby’s children and grandchildren and Caroline’s success as an elementary school teacher.  Another former student is a stand-up comedian.  As a 6th grader, he shared a joke at the beginning of most school days, but he never learned the names of European countries.  I laugh every time Monty posts a picture of himself on stage at one of his shows.

I like that our daughter’s friends, girls who slept on our living room floor at slumber parties twenty years ago, let me peek into their lives.  And I’m glad that our son’s friends, now grown-ups and daddies, share pictures of their children.  Birthdays, anniversaries, and weddings – all are celebrated among FB friends.  Pleas for prayers for those who are ill circulate quickly.  Pictures of newborns, less than an hour old, announce births.

Skimming and scanning, I make my way through Facebook posts.  I’m hooked.  In fifteen minutes, I know what’s happening with friends and family who live near and far.  I skip past reposts and long quotes.  I read personal updates.  I marvel over pictures of sunsets, hummingbirds, and old barns.  I take virtual trips to Italy, the Great Smoky Mountains, and the beach.  And then I see the best pictures of all.  Pictures of my Grands.  So I linger, longer than fifteen minutes.

Yes, I do the online social networking thing.  And I’m pretty sure that the creators of Facebook never imagined how much this grandmother would appreciate their invention.

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