I never thought this day would come. But there it was on my timeline:
“Hi, Mommy. Let’s be facebook friends finally.”
The last time I had been privy to Ally’s social media life was when she was 12 and let me look at her MySpace page for a dollar. Reading about her Harry Potter crush was no different from hearing about it face to face for free. I wondered why I had wasted my money, and quickly lost all interest in cyber-sleuthing. My children were born and mostly raised before technology made childrearing a living hell, so this is not as negligent as it sounds.
Now Ally is about to turn 23–independent enough to no longer need to prove her independence. And so she’s accepted my Friend Request, sent so long ago I’d forgotten I’d ever committed the faux-pas of asking in the first place.
“Mom,” both daughters had protested when I first got on Facebook and naively proposed that we become friends. “Are you out of your mind?” I think they may have phrased it more diplomatically, but I am skilled at discerning the subtext behind polite demurrals.
What is the subtext behind this sudden confirmation of my Friend Request? (And when will my daughter Emma follow her sister’s lead?) Ah, I get it . . . Ally, an aspiring writer, is trying to build platform. As an aspiring writer myself, I know that’s what I should be doing, too, inviting everyone in the world to be my friend and “Like” my page (which I have yet to create). Somehow, though, I can’t get past thinking of platforms as 70s shoes to be avoided, and the time in college someone stole my wallet on the platform at the Philadelphia train station. Perhaps I could have chased the thief down had I not been wearing those damn shoes.
Now I can communicate with my new friend about how to set up my writer’s page. After all, what are friends for? Not much, I’m afraid, at least not the eye-rolling daughterly kind. My preliminary request for help resulted in Ally’s telling me I could figure it out in five minutes if only I would google it.
At any rate, I’m not sure how I feel about being Facebook friends. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was terrible policy for the military, but it turns out to be pretty serviceable as parenting advice for those with older teenagers or young adult children. So far I’ve been relieved to find that Ally’s Facebook life is about as racy as her MySpace page. Do corporations really pay people to troll through prospective employee’s pages looking for embarrassing and illegal revelations of youthful folly? If so, they are not paying them enough.
The real problem is that now I have to think about my posts and whether or not I want Ally to see them. Since all I post are political petitions and my writing, I’m not too worried. Except that Ally is the child who said, when I asked if she minded what I wrote, “I don’t care what you write about me as long as I get a cut of any money you make.”
What price, friendship?
Are you friends with your kids on social media? Pros and cons?