My Mom is On Facebook: Bridging the Generational Divide Through Social Media

Recently, while casually checking Facebook for the 23rd time one day, (you just never know when something important could happen) I noticed I had a new friend request. Exciting as it is to see a new friend request pop up in my Facebook newsfeed, after further investigation, I was soon feeling troubled and confused; the friend request was from my Mom.

What is it that made me feel this way? It’s not that I don’t consider my Mom a friend or that I wasn’t proud to see that she was branching out and experimenting with social media, but before this moment, my online presence and my interaction with my parents were definitively separate. Immediately upon seeing this request, questions began to race through my mind surrounding this new development. Was I ready to merge these two worlds? What type of Facebook user would my Mom turn out to be?  (stalker, lurker, active participant, etc)  Are there aspect about my online persona that would change my Mom’s perspective of me? Would there be things about my Mom’s developing online persona that would change my perspective of her? Do I give my Mom full friendship access, or only a limited profile view?

Once I had some time to process it, I realized what this meant about the broad reach of social media and the opportunity Facebook was providing for my Mom and me. Not only were we able to connect on an entirely new level, but, as we currently live over 400 miles apart, this was a great way for us to stay connected and keep up with each other’s lives. Despite my hesitancy to open what could be a Pandora’s Box for our relationship, I decided that there was nothing about my online presence that would represent me negatively, and that if I felt I could safely share my Facebook profile with friends and coworkers, it was probably safe to share it with my family as well.

Long story short, I accepted my Mom’s friendship, and have yet to regret it. I’ve had to do some minimal coaching to help her establish her own online persona, but for the most part, things are progressing smoothly. How far will the bridging of the generation gap continue through social media?  It is hard to say; I’ve yet to receive a friend request from my grandparents…

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~ by dparsonsmedia on September 9, 2009.

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