The Problem with Facebook

This is normally something I’d post on my other blog, but everyone I know reads it so I must confess here:

MY FAMILY IS ON MYSPACE. AND ARE MAKING THE SLOW, ALBEIT TOO-FAST-FOR-ME TRANSITION TO FACEBOOK. Luckily there’s a place I can go to share my pain. It’s a little site called, “Oh, crap. My parents joined Facebook.”

I know what you’re thinking. Your parents and your aunts, uncles and 27 cousins are on Facebook and it’s not so bad.

Well, let me tell you. Last week, my aunt friended me up on MySpace (she’s relatively normal, FYI), which led me to discover the page of my uncle’s third wife from whom he’s now separated. She had a slew of lewd photos on her page, including some very inappropriate photos of her daughters: three from a previous marriage and one of my sweet, 16-year old cousin looking like she might be turning tricks for lunch money.

This discovery lead to five more MySpace pages of seemingly normal relatives, at which point I had to log out and vow never to investigate family members via the internet again.

And somehow, this all came up with my mother this week.

“So…I could have a MySpace page and be friends with you?” my mother asked cautiously.

“Yeah, I guess you could.”

“Just what you want; your mother as a MySpace friend.”

I tried to play it cool. I said, “Doesn’t make a difference to me, so long as you don’t go posting lewd, drunken photos of yourself and the bike photos of you, me and your myriad biker boyfriends. I don’t use MySpace anyway.”

And with a formal invite from her cousin, my mom is off to the Facebook races.

Look. I might delete my Facebook account if I didn’t somewhat begrudgingly do that sh!t for a living. I no longer accept friend requests from people I don’t really and truly know (say, their birthday month off the top of my head). But what this all really tells me is that, at some point, we’re all going to be interconnected. Can you imagine in 50 years? Not only are we going to have Facebook pages (or whatever incarnation of Facebook we create 50 years from now), but so will our kids, grand kids and all offspring henceforth.

As far as I can tell, this mass sharing is going to have one of two effects on families:

1) Smiling, happy people holding hands and communicating effectively

2) The complete opposite full of passive-aggressive behavior, discipline conundrums and family dramas played out for all to see

Moreover, and I’m not a fan of people putting seriously private information on the internet (hey, I went through my phase, but none of us are invisible, as this post goes to show) and the bottom line is that there’s stuff I just don’t want to know about my relatives. I feel embarrassed enough when my great aunt sends around semi-racist chain letters, and that’s just to our private family group. What happens when people that are connected to me start putting that crap as their status message? Or sending those dumber- than-all-hell Lil’ Green Patch requests to all of my friends?

Maybe what this points to is a problem with me, and only me. Maybe I need to loosen up and trust my immediate family not to over share or embarrass themselves or me. Or maybe I find a new profession and forget Facebook ever existed.

Help me, Expo86. You’re my only hope.

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