My eleven year old daughter Miss G created a facebook for me. I protested half-heartedly, but she was insistent that facebook is a vital social tool for the information age and that life as I know it could not go on until I had my own facebook page. Then, in my name, she contacted various people that I know—mainly nieces and nephews—and invited them to be friends with me. So now I have approximately 45,000 facebook friends, because I'm so popular and everybody wants to be friends with me. No, that was a joke. I did acquire a large number of friends in 24 hours, though. Some of them wrote sweet little notes on my “wall” and it all seems friendly and harmless, although I worry about Miss G recklessly sending out invitations from me, since the nieces and nephews are now probably wondering what has gotten into their crazy aunt who sees them once a year and even then, doesn't have a whole lot to say.
Then there was the issue of my profile. I noticed Miss G set it to say that I am interested in men. Why, I asked, did she put that? That makes it look like I'm trying to meet men.
Miss G: What did you want me to put, chickens?
Me: Is that an option?
Miss G: No! You have to pick men or women. Those are the only choices.
Then I discovered the networks. You can, for example, join a network of everyone who graduated from your college. I went to Canisius College, a small Jesuit college in Buffalo, and after just ten seconds of browsing I knew I had to join. Too bad I'm required to have a canisius.edu email address. What the hell? I graduated years ago, live in another state, but have to have an email address from the college in order to join a facebook network? That requirement pretty much excludes 98% of alumni from joining. I tried entering my virginia.edu address, thinking that the “.edu” might fool it, but no, I was told that this email was no good and why didn't I join the UVA network, since clearly I has slipped and typed Canisius College when what I meant was University of Virginia? Now I was mad and if I couldn't join the Canisius network I had to join a different one. Charlottesville! Buffalo! My old high school! Things were getting interesting, but alas, we have just one computer and Miss G wanted to visit her facebook. Soon we were engaged in the sort of family fight you see on sit coms and she was trying to wrest the mouse out of my hand, yelling, “You can't have facebook anymore!”