Facebook: Now, grown-ups are joining
Hey, you “old fogies.” Are you on Facebook yet? asked Lev Grossman in Time.com. The popular social networking site started out five years ago as a way for college kids to hook up and swap party pictures, but it’s rapidly being infiltrated by moms and dads. People between 35 and 54 are the fastest-growing group on Facebook—there are now 7 million of us, up 276 percent in the last half of 2008. Why are moms and dads following their kids’ lead? For us, the site acts as a magnet that finds “people you’ve lost track of,” and unlike teenagers, “we’ve gone through multiple schools, jobs, and marriages.” Fogies like me can reconnect with people from past lives, mist up over old summer camp and high school photos, and send friends—new and old—photos of our kids. So what are you waiting for?
Facebook, in fact, may be better suited to adults than to teens, said Peggy Orenstein in The New York Times. It’s one thing to network with old friends when you’re 40, and another when you’re 18 and heading off to college, having been on Facebook or MySpace since you were 12. College has always been the place where young adults reinvent themselves and shed their old family and high school roles. “Can you really do that with your 450 closest friends watching,” and reminding you every day—every hour—of your old self? Growth depends on introspection, which depends on loneliness. Transformation depends on experimentation, which depends on space. For young people trying to forge their own identities, Facebook may serve as a straitjacket.
I beg to differ, said Matt Labash in The Weekly Standard. Facebook is a straitjacket for people of all ages—a time waster that changes even the most likable people into “teenage girls,” with nothing better to do than talk about themselves. All of a sudden, my grown-up friends have all joined; refusing to have a Facebook page has become an anti-social act. To hell with that. I despise Facebook for its “steady, Chinese-water-torture drip of status updates,” as tedious people inundate their virtual “friends” with tedious details from tedious lives. Do you really want to know when your true love from grade school is cleaning up her cat’s hairballs, or that the balding guy you idolized in college is “glad it’s the weekend”? Down with Facebook, say I. It’s like the world’s worst high school reunion—a reunion you can never leave.