The Horror: Moms Now Addicted To Facebook

Why are we so freaked out by moms social networking? Besides, you know, that one photo.

One awesome thing about moms joining Facebook or any other "new" social networking thing is how unjaded they are: technology that seems to us old-hat is a revelation, a source of excitement, a personal discovery (even several years into a phenomenon.) Whereas we don't wish to admit there's anything we don't know about - or at least suspected - those who've lived through a less technological age feel unconstrained to marvel. While we are already preemptively embarrassed by the crudeness of today's wonders, knowing there's something even better around the corner, moms are able to appreciate the wonder of what is.

Kids today have been hooked on Facebook for years, and by now have surely moved on to harder stuff: Twitter, the narcissists' heroin, makes Facebook look practically selfless in its expansiveness. But to Kristen Hansen Brakeman, a recent Facebook convert, the addiction comes as shocking.

I began to neglect my duties at the office, so busy was I uploading photos and posting links to hilarious videos. I learned to hide my omnipresent Facebook page by keeping a work-related document open on my desktop, which I would click on whenever my boss happened by...Then my kids began to infringe on my addiction. They would want meals or other irritating things like rides to school. "Just a minute, I have to check my Facebook. Oh, how cute; my friend Karen posted a new picture of her little baby."

What is it that we find so comically bizarre about older people doing this stuff? Is it what Brakeman describes, a neglect of parental duties which, even to adult kids, feels like a betrayal? Part of it is the fact that we want to hold tight to technology I'm sure - to say nothing of our privacy. I naturally queries ex-Jezebel Jessica, as an expert on all things Mom, who replied that "we present a certain version of ourselves to our parents, and that's not necessarily the version we're presenting to the internet world." (Which is ironic as they're two constructs of the same coin, to mix.) And you know what else? In a way, I think we want better for them. We know firsthand the soul-sucking, addictive, voyeuristic, petty, mean-spirited, superficial vapidity of this world and we wish to save them, in their innocence, from such horrors. We deserve no better; in a way, they do. It's undignified, of course, and while they may be blissfully ignorant of the sordid underpinnings of all such modes of communication, we all know there's a seediness to it - to even the most average photo album - that we'd rather protect them from. Beyond not wanting to deal with their reaction to a shot of you smoking a cigarette is the wish to shield them from it. But in a weird reversal of prior generations' roles, they're always nipping at our heels, forcing us on to the newest technologies, confident at least that it will be two years before they discover it. And on that note, we'd really discourage Brakeman from Twitter.

Finished With Facebook [Washington Post]
Mother Lode [New Yorker]