Friday, February 18, 2011

This is your mom on Facebook

I sat at the secretaries table for lunch yesterday. This is a group of older ladies in the Utah Senate, all in their 50's and 60's. They are absolutely adorable. Think of hip grandmas with perfectly coiffed taffy hair, exotic bangles and smiling faces slipping in conversations about church, chocolate and wrinkles. Then chirp, chirp and chatter, chatter along they go. They even referred to themselves as the "clucking hens". And it sounds exactly like that!

Their lunch table is in the back of the Senate Chambers just a hop skip away from the Senate Floor. Each one of them have been friends and co-workers there for decades.

So they asked me what I did, did I have a degree and was I married? My answers - social media, yes and no - to which one of them offered me her grandson.

At first no one would admit to actually liking Facebook. There was a big back and forth discussion about not understanding social media. One of the women finally admitted she joined just so she could see her son's photos. Another lady said it was the only way she knew what her kids were up to these days - and that sometimes she really wished she did not know what they were up to after reading their posts.

It really is a generational difference. These cute little old ladies come from a generation that didn't talk about things in public. They kept what was going on in their life to themselves. But here we are telling the world what we're up to. Why is that?

I wonder if it is all the reality TV or talk shows we were raised on. We see real people acting up or doing crazy things and suddenly our lives seem pretty okay to talk about? Or perhaps we are just young enough to adapt to something that was naturally going on in a smaller scale before? I don't know. It's an interesting question. Why do we share personal things about ourselves so willingly when that very thought terrifies our parent's generation?

At any rate they were fascinating to listen to. For me it was kind of like hearing what is really going on in my own mom's head. I was the one who set her up on Facebook. Now she will call me and ask how to load a photo or add someone as a friend (and ask me if she should add so and so that we know). She'll ask me about my post and disagree with me on some political blah, blah and who is that cute boy that commented on my wall? Although I do have to give her props for trying. I've showed her how to text but that didn't take so well.

Listening to these adorable women, who probably have kids my age or a little older, and grand kids and a whole life before that helped me understand my mom a little more. They are now carefully treading into something that is second nature to me and my generation. This is not something that they were raised to naturally see as appropriate. It made me wonder where we are headed, why we see the world so differently, why we are so much more open now...and if that really is better.

2 comments:

erinannie said...

You'll have fun with my column (it comes out on Tuesday). Its on this exact subject!

EvaandJosiah said...

Very cute Sara ;) Now try that and add a language and culture barrier to it. My mom is starting to use instant messenger and always on the computer now, and it's a debasting day for her when she is trying to download or upload a photo into her email. haha it's crazy and my dad joined facebook. And its crazy. So yes i totally see your relationship and the unique experience that it can be.