I'm the kind of person who skips to the conversation when reading a book.

Facebook Distractions

My father is a remarkably independent, alert 82 year old.  He has a problem though;  he struggles with Facebook.

It all began (and still begins) with the sign-on page.  “Welcome to Facebook” reads the tab in my browser, but it is most welcoming to those who need a new account Facebook, not those who are already have one.  Those who have already signed up have to look for a little log-in section in the upper right of the page.

“Why does Facebook keep asking me to sign up again?” my father asked me one day.  “And then it tells me that I already have an account.”

Every time he went to the sign-in page, it was the same thing.  The big “SIGN UP” caught his eye, not the little “log in”.

Yesterday he asked me if I had brought any pictures to show him from Florida.

“No, Dad,” I said apologetically. “I think the days of hard copies of photos from a trip are gone.  I can show you some of the pictures on Facebook, though.”

“I just don’t get Facebook,” he grumbled. “It’s hard to get on, and, when I finally get there, it seems like a bunch of silly conversations that I don’t care about.”

“I’ll just show you how to find the pictures,” I told him.

I was busy making dinner while we had this conversation.  He asked me about the pictures several times, so finally I suggested that Grace or Hannah show him the pictures on Facebook.

“Log on to Grampa’s account for him,” I told Hannah.  She obediently ran into the computer room, and a few minutes later I peeked around the corner at the two of them looking at photographs together on the computer.

“So you found the pictures?” I asked as I joined them.

“These are wonderful,” my father said. “And I can just click on this carrot to get to the next one?” he asked Hannah.

“Yep,” she said, “just click on that little arrow.”

He clicked through a few pictures.  He looked up at me.  “These are wonderful,” he said again.

“Now, how do I get back to Facebook?” he asked, hovering the pointer over the “x” that would exit the whole browser.

“Don’t click on that, Dad,”  I told him. “Just click on this ‘x’ here.”  I showed him how to escape a photo album and still stay in Facebook.

“What is all this nonsense?” he asked, looking at the news feed.

Unfortunately, he was pointing to a line on his news-feed in which Finley was wishing one of his friends a happy birthday and had included a bunch of hearts.  To be funny, of course.

“It just tells you what other people are saying,” I explained.

“And I don’t need to pay attention to this?” he asked, pointing to the advertising along the right side of the page.

“No, just ignore that,” I said.

“And where did those photos go again?”

Hannah helped him find the Florida pictures while I looked on.

“How do I get out of this again?” he asked, about to exit the browser again.

I showed him how to exit the album instead.

“And what’s all this?” he asked.

It struck me then, that Facebook is nothing more than a bunch of distractions.  Whether it’s games, advertising, or nonsense statuses, it really is a whole lot of nothing.

Except the pictures from Florida.

They make it worthwhile.


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This entry was posted on January 9, 2013 by in Family conversation, Postaday 2013 and tagged , , , , , , , .

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