Saturday, September 28, 2013

GRANDMAS AND OLDER PEOPLE ON FACEBOOK

I’M A GRANDMA: SHOULD I JOIN FACEBOOK?

Should grannies join Facebook? According to what I’ve heard, yes. Should I join Facebook? I’m not so sure.

I saw a TV news story and read a couple of articles recently about “Facebook for Grandma” and how this and similar social networking sites can give senior citizens a “cognitive boost.” A study from the University of Arizona found that people older than 65 can benefit from feeling more socially connected and learning new Internet skills. They performed about 25 percent better on a function known in the psychology world as “updating”, or being able to continuously monitor and quickly add or delete the contents of their working memory.

I’m not 65 yet, but I AM a grandma now. There are days I have a kid in each ear saying “Grandma! Grandma!” So would it behoove me to enhance my “updating” skills by joining a social site? Sometimes I think it would be fun. I did get a Facebook account several years ago—not using my real name—just to see what it was all about, but I never really figured out how to work it. For some reason I don’t find that site very user-friendly. And then it surprised and annoyed me by sending out invites to everyone in my address book! After a few months I deleted it and didn’t return again until earlier this year when I made another account with a fake name and making sure no address book was connected to it. I still am not comfortable with using it (although I haven’t really taken the time to learn it), but I did manage to poke around just to investigate who all was on it and who was not.

And it seems MOST people are on it! I used my cognitive skills to dig deep into the recesses of my memory and looked up all kinds of people, from old school chums to former neighbors and teachers and co-workers and church friends and even high school pen pals. In most cases I had no trouble finding these old faces, and it has been fun and interesting to see what people I haven’t seen in years have been up to and how they’ve changed. Most current friends and relatives are on this site as well. Wow, I feel so out of the loop!

Of course, nobody knows I have found them, and I haven’t befriended anybody with my incognito profile. But I’m just wondering if I should come out and use my real name in case someone is looking for me, and then actually connect with others as well. But then I have thoughts of “friending” someone and imagining them saying, “Oh yeah, you were that wimpy little nobody in high school” or worse yet not remembering me at all.

But I think most people don’t really say much on Facebook, at least not the ones I have found and especially in my age group. They have a profile picture and a little bit about themselves and that’s it—just enough to let you know they are there. This is probably what I would do, too—friend someone not necessarily to chat away but just to say, “Hey, I see you’re still alive and so am I,” or “It was nice knowing you in third grade, and yep, we’re both still here on the planet.” And I know many people use it to keep in touch with long-distance family and friends, post pictures of kids, etc., but I really don’t have anyone that fits that category, or if I do, our annual Christmas newsletter does the job.

But what prevents me from actually joining Facebook is being afraid of what I might see. I’ve already found out things about people that I do NOT want to know, and I come across sites like breweries and wineries and marijuana-related things without even trying. It’s just like Yahoo and YouTube. I never go actively searching for anything like this; it all seems to come my way no matter how much I try to avoid it. Just for fun I typed in my actual name in Facebook and up comes a pot smoker! And she had “liked” some marijuana sites (recipes with cannabis, etc.), and so then I find there are pot sites on Facebook, which I didn’t know before, and I want to chastise the heck out of them. Or I find someone I knew in high school and they are pictured at a dinner party or wedding with champagne, or I see that they “liked” some brewery or bar that I didn’t know existed, and I have to sit on my hands to keep from writing to them and the bar and giving them a lecture about the evils of alcohol.

Another example: we have a picture of a cute little girl, Angie, in our photo album that was taken with our baby son in the early 80’s. She lived in our apartment complex and she and her sister would often come out and play with him, which I really appreciated at the time. I had no trouble finding her on Facebook. It says she has a wonderful husband and two darling daughters. Awww, how nice. Then I see she has a poem about how good beer is, uses profanity, and has pictures of herself at some Christmas party wearing a skimpy Santa costume with fishnet stockings and holding a wine bottle. ACK!!! My first instinct is to tell her why all of this behavior is wrong, to try and get her see there is a better way to live, trying to make a difference in her life out of love and concern. And I know she’d probably write back saying, “Who the h*ll are YOU, lady?? F*CK off!!!” Yep, it would have been better if I had never looked her up at all. Now every time I see that picture of sweet little Angie, I will think of her like that.

Of course I wouldn’t say anything like this to her if we met in real life. And the same goes for all the other people I would find on this site. I wouldn’t normally be with them at the parties or cooking with marijuana. I wouldn’t even know these things. That’s one of the drawbacks of the Internet. It’s like peaking into someone’s personal diary or photo album.

And this is why I hesitate to join Facebook. My husband advises against it. “No good can come of it,” he says. Sigh. He’s not on the site and doesn’t care to be. But part of me still wants to join and connect with at least SOME people! If only to say “Hey, it’s good to know we’re both still alive!” And I feel like I should do it sooner rather than later, before it gets too late. I’m not getting any younger and neither are any of my old classmates and others from my past!

And so the question remains: Is Cindybin ready for Facebook? Or is Facebook ready for Cindybin? We may never know. 

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Cindy. Found your blog through some of the comments you have made on other articles. Although I respectfully disagree with some of your messages and the way you deliver your messages, after seeing this post about Facebook, I thought I would show you some kindness and explain something you may not have realized. When you make an account on Facebook, you get to choose how much others can see on your page. You mentioned that most people you looked up only put their name and a picture, but it is possible that they set their safety features so that only those who they have approved as "Friends" can see their whole profile and posts. My grandma, who I think is a lot older than you, has a Facebook account and enjoys seeing what family members and friends are up to. On the other hand, it sounds like you have already found some disadvantages of getting an account, and perhaps it is better you don't know everything about your friends or family members if it will change your opinion of them so drastically.

Cindybin said...

Yes, I now realize that many people are not showing pictures and posts because they have it set so only friends can view these things. I know that feature is available, but I just want to make sure I understand how to work Facebook before setting up an account,so that I don't accidentally share things. And so far I haven't taken the time to do so! I still don't think that site is user-friendly, and people's pages look like a jumbled bunch of information that is hard to read. And yes, I'm still finding out things about people that are upsetting.

But more importantly, why don't you agree with some of the things I have said or the way I "deliver my messages"? What could I POSSIBLY say that anyone could find fault with??

Anonymous said...

I think it's admirable that you maintain your beliefs so strongly, Cindy. Faced with many who oppose you, you seem to remain steadfast in your faith. I am not attempting to judge your actions or even pretending to understand who you are as a person, but having seen the way you are met with such strong resistance and even hatred after posting your comments, I am pointed to the model of Jesus. Instead of loudly condemning and chastising the people, he ate dinner with sinners, loved them just as they were, and showed them true compassion--he even washed their feet!

Fortunately for us, we are not the ones in charge of deciding the fate of our fellow human beings, and I think with this knowledge we are granted the opportunity and responsibility to guide our peers to Jesus through demonstrating his love, acceptance, and understanding. This is what I try to model in my life, although I am far from perfectly successful! We all have imperfections, as we are all human. Giving someone a small glimpse of love through a comment I think can go a lot further than tearing them down to prove a point.

Cindybin said...

I totally agree with you! I don't know why you people always think that I "tear people down." I do just the opposite!

It is comments like yours that prove my point about why we all need to speak up against pot and why it should be illegal forever. And then you claim to be so religious and all about Jesus. Yeah right.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if you were suggesting that I smoke pot... but I do not and never have. Although perhaps you don't mean to tear people down, it is obvious by their reactions that they feel that you do. Perhaps you never read their reactions to your posts--if you did, you would see that people do not appreciate the way you put forth your stance. That is all I am trying to say. I also am not sure how you can say I am not religious without knowing me at all!

Cindybin said...

You must be a troll, only saying this to cause a reaction. So who are you really? Which troll are you?

And then you say that maybe I haven't read the responses people have given to my posts? Of COURSE I've read the responses! As I have explained countless times, this all started years ago, back on the old Yahoo boards, where I went to dispel misconceptions people had about lowcarb diets! There were some marijuana stories there, and I made one little comment about how we shouldn't use mind-altering drugs and that you can get into serious trouble with the law if you get busted. This is nothing that any other parent wouldn't say, right? Well all the pot smokers appeared out of nowhere and cussed me out, threatened me with death and bodily harm, attacked my religion, my looks, my sex life, made fun of me for collecting dolls, etc. And of course they all accused me of thinking that marijuana is deadly and dangerous and that all pot smokers are stupid, lazy, good-for-nothing bums. So I explained myself further, telling them that I do NOT think this at all. But the more I explained, the worse they got. And it continues until this day. I regularly get deaths of threats and bodily harm, pot smokers and alcohol-users, but mainly pot smokers sending me emails telling me they're going to hunt me down and kill me, they describe in detail how they're going to torture and kill my family and me, they make fun of me for collecting dolls, they make mean videos and websites about me, and they STILL accuse me of thinking that marijuana is dangerous and deadly and that you are a "bad person" if you use it, or a stupid, lazy, good-for-nothing bum, etc. And THIS is why I realize that we all need to speak up against pot and why it should be illegal forever. It is not because of marijuana itself, but because of the people who use and defend it!

Saying that I haven't read any responses people say to me. Oh brother. Of COURSE I have read their responses.

So again, who ARE you really? If you keep this up, I won't be approving any more of your posts, because I know you're a troll. Go away.

Anonymous said...

cindy You are a troll i know you know casue you're first blog post is about how you are a troll.

Cindybin said...

Dear Anonymous, First of all, the only reason my first blog post is about that "troll" story is because I had UPDATED my blog here. I started a blog a long time ago, way back in 2001, with my weight loss story. I had NO IDEA that all this "troll" business would happen several years after that. I have revamped my blog since then because I used to post mainly on a Geocities site and Yahoo blog but they discontinued that, so I then started using this site and I just kind of posted some of my major blogs over here that used to be on my other blogs. But it all started out with my Somersize story and recipes, etc. way back in 2001, long before any of this stupid "troll" stuff got started. And you KNOW it was by the stupid pot smokers--THEY are the ones who started all that. Which shows you what they are like! It proves my point! And THIS is why we all need to speak up against pot. I never even used to THINK about marijuana before all this!

Anonymous said...

The "pot smokers" didn't start this--you did. You decided to attack people-many if whom DONT use drugs. But because they have differing views they MUST smoke weed, right? It's actually just funny reading comments on here , only reason I give you the hits. Do you have a word do inner with all your arguments to copy and paste them because you constantly sound like a broken, outdated record. Maybe some Prozac would help, or is that evil too because it alters neurotransmitters?

Cindybin said...

AAARGGHHHH, for the billionth time, I know that not everyone who disagrees with me is a pot smoker! I have said this over and over and over! But MOST of them smoke pot or have smoked pot, and see nothing wrong with it. How sad is that?? What parent would ever raise their kids to grow up and use drugs to get high and stoned?? At any age?? And it is AGAINST THE LAW! If you get busted, you can get into serious trouble, at least where I live!

And what a thing to say, about the Prozac. Just because I have said we shouldn't smoke pot, you all accuse me of having mental problems and needing drugs to cure me or something. OH BROTHER.

Again, you all prove my point about why we all need to speak up against pot and why it should be illegal forever. It is not because of marijuana itself, it is because of the people who use and defend it! LIKE YOU! Look at you! Instead of being a nice, decent, mature guy and commending and supporting me for saying we shouldn't use mind-altering drugs, you come here and say all this mean, nasty stuff. What is WRONG with you?? How old are you? Where are your parents? Do they know you are like this? Is this how you are going to raise your kids someday??