Monday, August 3, 2009

An Open Letter to My Mother

Get off Facebook.

True, Facebook allows you to reconnect with former
co-workers. It lets you and your girlfriends share pictures (those who have
figured out how to upload pictures, anyway). And – yay! – you now have a forum
to tell the world exactly how you feel about Michael Jackson. 

But, Mom, please find another way to do all this. Get a
cable access TV show. Host coffee klatches. Staple flyers to utility poles.
Whatever you do, stop using social networking sites. (You may still use e-mail,
but please keep forwarded messages about killer tampons and men who hide under
women’s cars at night to a minimum.)

I’m sorry, but Facebook is not for you. You don’t get my
sense of humor. You have different definitions of decorum. And you’re kinda, a
little, driving me and Sis crazy.

Not a week goes by that Mom doesn’t call to complain about
some “outrageous” thing she’s seen or read on Sis’s Facebook page. The
conversation usually goes something like this:

Mom: “Some guy wrote to her something about she had crabs,
and she said, ‘I got it from your dad,’ or something. I don’t know. Who is this

Me: “Get off Facebook.”

Mom: “Did you see that she put on her Facebook that she’s
engaged? What does she think? That’s funny? I am so angry.”

Me: “Get off Facebook.”

Mom: “Did …”

Me: “Get off Facebook.”

Facebook equalizes the social playing field. Young, old,
friend or “friend,” everybody is invited to the party and can blather, banter
or rant with equal impunity.

But, Mom, that’s not a good thing. Your comments are often
baffling and wrong (Zev compared your car to a Transformer not a transmitter).
And just because Facebook opens a window into the candid inner workings of
adult kids’ lives doesn’t mean that parents should peer in.

When you visited us in college, did you stay a respectful
distance from our dorm rooms, or did you loaf about the residential hall TV
lounge at 4 a.m., doing bong hits with the RA and trading recipes for peanut
butter nachos?

There is a healthy separation that needs to be maintained
between parents and adult children, without which kids will never fully form
into adults – and parents will get totally grossed out. 

(Mom, you didn’t really want to see that picture of that
dude with his hand on Sis’s ass, did you? Nope. But now you have and you’re
fuming about it.) 

Thus far, Mom, you’ve ignored my campaign. But somewhere
inside you have to know that the melding of your social world with your kids’
is not a healthy thing. Did your parents know everything you were up to in your
20s and 30s? Considering we’re talking about stuff that happened in the 70s,
I’m going to guess the answer is “No.” And that’s a good thing.

So, please, Mom, please, please, get off Facebook. If you
don’t do it willingly, I assure you the Free Market of Societal Norms will
eventually correct this problem and a new, harder-to-penetrate social network
will spring up in place of the overly saturated FB. 

In fact, I get a sense it’s happening already. The other day
Mom took a break from her usual complaints about Sis’s Facebook page to ask,
“What is Twitter?”


  1. har! but what about us ultra-savvy moms of 20-something daughters? oh, i know, i'm gonna write that rebuttal ;)

  2. SO TRUE! Hilarious....

  3. I love this!!!!! My mom calls to tell me everyday about a new shooting she sees in my neighborhood on the news. I said "Don't watch the new or buy me a gun!"

  4. Draw the line! Thank god my parents don't have a computer (some Nigerian princes are upset that they don't.)

  5. I'm "friends" with my daughters, but I know enough to keep my mouth shut (besides, my life is more interesting than theirs as far as I'm concerned). Also, your Mom's really nice from what I can tell, and I've learned that I get along best with my kids when they realize they can ignore everything I say, no matter what. Very funny letter, though I hope your Mom's learned to ignore you, too.

  6. My mom just got on Facebook a couple weeks ago. Oy!

  7. ok, now i feel like a complete idiot because i started a freaking campaign to get my dad on facebook. what the hell is wrong with me.