A national advice columnist recently published a letter brimming with condescension from a young woman whose signature I forget, so I'll just call her "Little Snot, Anywhere, U.S.A."
In the letter, L.S. was incensed by a letter from a woman in her 60s who had written for advice in dealing with Facebook etiquette issues. L.S. pointed out the folly of such a question since the woman was too old to be using Facebook, or presumably any other social networking site due to her horribly advanced age. Really, shouldn't she be tatting doilies or winding up her Victrola instead of finding out if she's 100 percent Minnesotan or some such via one of the endless Facebook quizzes?
The gist of L.S.'s letter to "Ask Amy" was that if you're too old to figure out how to de-friend a pest or ignore a quiz or "poke" someone or send an imaginary mint julep to a friend or whatever, then you're too old to be on Facebook.
To which all I can do is L.O.L.
My Facebook friend, Chris, pointed out that L.S. shouldn't fret too much because there's already a Facebook for older folks. It's called "The Facebook." Which makes me L.O.L. again.
I get that it may be unnerving to realize that your mama and even your grandma want you to be their Facebook friends but, face it, we've got high school classmates we have to stalk same as you.
My college-age niece recently agreed to "friend" me on Facebook but restricted my profile to the utterly useless limits of viewing a few carefully edited photos of her involved in wholesome study sessions and reading about the environmental groups she had joined on Facebook. Judging from the restricted Facebook information I'm allowed to see, it appears that her college experience is about as exciting as mildew.
Of course, I know better.
After pouting a bit (I like to consider myself the "cool" aunt), I realized that she was right, of course. This is an awkward dance we do between the generations.
L.S. believes that those over 60 (or probably much younger) simply don't have the brainpower to navigate Facebook or its slightly skankier cousin, MySpace. What would she make, then, of my 80-year-old friend who just joined a few weeks ago and now has more Facebook friends than many people in their 20s? And, no, a nice orderly isn't pushing the magic buttons for her in the rec room at the home.
The late Ronald Reagan's response to a young person who said he was out of touch because he didn't grow up with computers, nuclear power and so forth was dead on: Reagan said that was absolutely true, but he added, "So we invented them." Nice.