I think I can safely speak for all baby boomers. And I say this not only because I am one but because so are both my friends and sister. Need I more of a representative sample?
And the point I’d like to make, for all you non-boomers, whether you’re generation X or a millennial or some other demographic in search of an identity, is this: we all know that your social media is our arch-enemy. We know it’s an agenda designed to stymie and humiliate us. A plot to marginalize our success at conversation and eye-to-eye interaction. An excuse to not call us and ask how we’re doing while at the same time letting us, and the rest of the world, know that your scrambled eggs this morning were runny.
So let’s start with Facebook. Maybe it should be called the About-face Book. Because isn’t that exactly what you do when you turn your back to someone? Now you can choose to engage or not. Block or unblock with impunity. We elders were taught to at least be polite enough to end an unpleasant discussion with, “Oh, look at the time!” Now we have to read: “Later. Housewives starting.” Click!
It’s frightening. Like a bacterial infection, it’s beginning to infect even the most mature of the card-carrying boomers. I met an elderly couple who now Facebook each other – in the same house. In the same room. On the same couch! Watching and commenting on the same TV show they’re watching. They’ve been married for forty years and never got along better. Except he doesn’t talk to her and she doesn’t talk to him.
I will admit I almost got sucked in myself but signing up meant I had to have a code. A code? For me? I have no facility for remembering a code unless it was CODE. I recall John Podesta, Hillary’s chief of staff. His password was PASSWORD. It took a Russian janitor one vodka to crack it.
As if Facebook weren’t maddening enough, then you turned the screws ever more tightly with Twitter. Twitter! Really? Twitter? Believe me, we all knew what a twit was, and even allowing for widely varied interpretations, it wasn’t good. It wasn’t good then and it isn’t good now. Clearly to be a twit on twitter, you obviously have to tweet. Do you know how unnerving this is for me and my peeps. Remember the first tweet? “I tawt I taw a puddy tat.” Now, half a century later, judging from the tweets we see on the news every day, Looney Tunes is still writing the script.
But wait! There’s more. Meet the new kid on the block. Apparently Facebook and Twitter got together and had a baby. They named it Instagram. I would love to expound on this but I must confess that Instagram is lodged in some cerebral dustbin and most likely will go down with the ship. It’s couched somewhere in between the hashtags, posts, blogs, and blasts.
So I implore all my fellow boomers: boycott these baffling messengers. If enough of us opt out, maybe they’ll go away. Then we can get back to conventional communication where we actually confront each other. And if we do find the discourse a little awkward, do what we did as kids – hang up!