I’m a pretty social person. I’ve always had quite a few friends and easily mingled between the cliques in High School. Yep I could hang with the jocks and cheerleaders just as easily as I could with the dweebs.
Like just about everyone I know, I have a Facebook page (real me) with lots friends from the years. There are some really close buddies from when I was a little lad, some from High School and college that were dear friends and some from life post entering the real world (aka: getting married, having kids, a ginormous mortgage and a “career”).
Side note: my CV Facebook Page has 9 friends that “Like” it. I have over 800 Followers on Twitter and only 9 Likes? . Sad I know, but those 9 rock.
There was a time not too far back when Facebook was just taking off and I’d get multiple Friend Requests a day. Not so now as it’s pretty well ubiquitous.
Facebook claims they have 845 million monthly active users as of December 2011. So yeah, unless you live your life in a hut in the middle of the Sahara Desert, the odds are good you have one too.
Just recently they added yet another subscriber to their fold. Yep a Friend Request popped up and all I could think of was:
Oh Shit, Grandpa’s on Facebook.
Despite virtually all of the free world being on Facebook already, there’s no doubt many people joined last week, but only one of them falls under my department as the VP of Family IT. That one being my Dad; Grandpa to the little CV’s.
With many relatives already on Facebook I fully understand the value of the app in that I can keep relatives far and wide (no they aren’t fat – it’s a figure of speech) up to date with the family happenings with super quick convenience.
However, as any longtime user of the app knows it has evolved significantly over time, especially in the area of privacy. I’ve set mine up how I like it so that only friends see certain things, the general public sees much less and no one sees that picture of me that is best described this way: me, a keg of beer, 20+ friends, one slightly used “borrowed” tractor and a very phallic looking tree.
Being new to Facebook I knew that Grandpa was going to be in need of some consulting on setting things up.
Do I proactively volunteer? Ugh not sure I have that in me. Having worked with him on things like this for, well my whole life, I know it will go something like this:
Me: Hey Pops, I see you’re bored again in retirement and now on Facebook.
Him: Bored? Bull shit. Your Mom has me doing more than when I worked full time.
Me: Anyway, you want some help with the settings?
Me: Yea, all the privacy, notifications, etc.
Him: Oh I’ve done all that when I signed up. It said – enter an email address, create a password – I just used my old standby, oh by the way should you ever need it, it’s “#1grandpa” – then it said “find your friends and post something”.
Or, do I wait? That would go something like this:
After scouring the Facebook help pages for hours, I could wait for his call to me exclaiming, “I tried to call Facebook and ask for help but couldn’t find their Support number. How can you have really a big company that doesn’t allow people to call in with questions?”
Sigh. I didn’t have it in me. So, I did what I do best. Ignore it and hope it goes away.
All was good. It had been 2 full days since the CV clan patriarch had clicked that “create an account” button and I had yet to get the call. Could Facebook be so easy that even Grandpa CV could successfully navigate its settings minefield? Could Zuckerberg’s minions be that good?
And. Then. It. Came.
As I do every-so-often, I checked my Facebook page and, since I am friends with both my son, I saw a post Grandpa had put on CV Jr’s page. The exact details don’t matter so much, but suffice to say it appeared to be a semi-random thought Grandpa had and put on Jr’s page. And knowing Jr as I do, he wouldn’t be happy it was on his page.
Me: Hey Jr what’s up with Grandpa’s post on your Facebook page?
Jr: Ummm, what post.
Jr: Aww geez! Dad can you please talk to Grandpa?
Me: (silently in my own head – ugh do I have to?)
Jr: We were talking on the phone about…well that…and I thought we were done. Now that’s on my page! Doesn’t he know all my friends can see that now? My girlfriend too!
Me: Just delete it from your page. I’m sure your 674 friends didn’t see it (chuckle).
Jr: Can you please talk to Grandpa?
Me: (silently in my own head – ugh do I have to?)
Now it seems that the proactive option is out. Heck it only took 2 days for Grandpa to leave his mark on Jr. And, he’s already friending people left and right.
The other option, waiting for him to call me, is also out. I mean its only a matter of time before he starts uploading photos of me in elementary school where I had one or two photos taken of me in seriously embarrassing situations, “allegedly”.
Jr: Daaaaaaad! You’ve got to talk to him before he tries to friend my girlfriend!
Welp, I guess it’s my duty as a Dad to intervene (OK Mrs CV told me to).
Ring. Ring…Ring. Ring.
Me: Hey Pops, what’s up?
Grandpa: Oh not much. The sprinkler in the back yard is leaking again and your Mother won’t get off my ass about washing my plate before putting it in the dishwasher. I mean shit, what’s the point of a dishwasher if I’m going to have to wash the dishes first!
Me: That’s nice Dad. Hey I see you’re on Facebook finally. Now you’ll be able to follow how the kids are doing in their bazillion weekend activities. (Subtle segue).
Grandpa: Yea, except you’ll probably never call us again. Hey Ma! CV’s on the phone, you’d better talk to him now while you can!
Me: Dad, look you need to be careful what you post on Facebook. You do know everyone can see when you post something on my or the kids pages right? Perhaps you should just use Facebook’s Message app. See the message app is just between you and whomever you are messaging. Kinda like a text message.
Grandpa: OK so posting on someone’s wall everyone can see, but messaging is between me and you.
Grandpa: Shit this stuff is complex.
Me: You’re smart, just remember don’t post something you wouldn’t want the whole world to know.
Grandpa: Ok, makes sense but YOU can explain it to your mother since she just signed up too.