Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Handy-Dandy Facebook Guide for Old People

Facebook friends photo grid
Thanksgiving is over, Christmas is just around the bend, and if this isn’t a good time to lend a helping hand to my fellow “old people,” then I don’t know when is.

Today we’re going to discuss Facebook and what it means for people like you and me. And when I say “people like you and me,” I mean people who are not like “them,” and I think you know to which group I’m referring.

Facebook is one of those magical places on the internet where you can collect “friends,” follow their latest exploits, comment on how silly you think it is for them to bungee jump off a bridge (“especially at your age”), and grow tomatoes all at the same time from the safety of your own home.

To begin with, you must first have the internet. The internet isn’t actually yours, it’s shared by a lot of other people, but it’s okay if you say, “I have the internet.” If you do have the internet, then you’re in business. If not, then go read the comics. It’s much more interesting than this.

Next, you must have a computer. A computer is one of those man-made devices that can’t actually assist you in mowing the yard, but it can help you find out how “the pros” do it, which sounds pretty boring to me. Computers come in all shapes and sizes. Get a big one. There’s less chance of misplacing it like you do your keys to the John Deere.

Attach computer to Internet via cable or mobile device. Turn everything on and hope that nothing explodes.

Okay, so if everything works as it’s supposed to, you’re now on the Internet (not “on” as in sitting on the couch, I hope you understand), you’ve searched for Facebook, you’ve created yourself an account, and now you’re ready to Rock ‘n Roll, but not as in NEW Rock ‘n Roll, but ‘50s Rock, the only kind that really matters.

(CLARIFICATION: It may be possible that I’ve skipped a few minor details between purchasing a computer and being crowned king of Facebook. If so, just give me a call and we’ll sit down and discuss the finer details over a dozen Pittsburg Hot Links. You’re buying.)

Now that you’re on Facebook, the first thing you need to do is take a couple of Advil because you’re going to have a dickens of a time trying to upload a photograph of yourself so everybody can see what you look like. My advice: skip the picture for now. They have a wonderful blue silhouette of a male or female (depending upon whether you’re male or female) which will suffice until you’ve learned your way around the place.

Now it’s time to go looking for some “friends.” I put the word “friends” in quote marks because these people are more than likely not really your friends. They are more like acquaintances, family members, or people you went to school with who still owe you money. Real friends join you for lunch, call you when you’re not feeling well, send you Christmas cards, and go out with you to see movies. Facebook friends make comments about where they’re going on their next cruise, but they never invite you along.

Speaking of comments, the whole foundation of Facebook is based on making pithy comments about what you’re doing at any given moment, and writing pithy comments in response to your friends’ pithy comments. I have no idea what the word “pithy” means, but I’m sure you already know that.

Comments come in a variety of flavors. There’s the “what I’m thinking/doing now” comments, the “spiritual/contemplative/inspirational” comments, the “this is an old joke but I’m going to share it with you anyways” comment, and the “I can’t believe how bad the Cowboys suck this year” comments. Feel free to mix and match, depending on how you feel at the time.

So, now let’s review: First you get the internet; you sign up for Facebook; you collect some “friends;” you make a comment which your new-found friends ignore; you make a comment about how nobody makes comments on your comments, even though you comment on everybody else’s comments; you get your feelings hurt, write a comment exactly how your feelings are hurt, which nobody responds to, which makes you wish you never signed up for stupid Facebook in the first place, and now you hate with a passion the person who even mentioned it to you.

Hmmm. Maybe we should just forget all about this Facebook hooey. Want to go for some hot links? I’m buying.

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