Monday, 26 October 2009

Sons, Daughters and Social Media

Do you want to meet up with your kids on Facebook? Triggered by a recent tweet I consolidated my thoughts about this one. It's not a conundrum, in my view, it's a given - no I don't.

The tweet I received referred to a parent signing up to Facebook and LinkedIn and that this might not be such a great thing. I think it's fine (being a parent of older children - oldest 22 she hastily adds) but I certainly don't want to meet up with my kids any other way than by sight (sometimes), phone (usually when they need cash) text or email.

Social Media works provided you stick to the rules - you follow interesting people who are happy to be followed by you, you interact with them, you're interesting as much of the time as possible and witty when you can be. Personally I don't think it works when mothers and daughters (or any parents and kids) are linked somewhere such as Facebook (ok, I mean Facebook). I don't want to invade their space, I certainly don't want to look at their pictures and I don't want them to invade mine - I've worked hard for my independence, thank you very much, and I'm not going to lose it now.

An exception to all of this of course has to be when your family abroad or are travelling and you want to keep up-to-date with events. In that case there's no better tool for knowing what's going on, the new baby, the bungee jump (heaven forbid), the photographs from the top of Mount Kinabalu in Borneo - uploaded more or less in real time. What could be better than that?

If you take a look at the demographics published by Quantcast you'll see that the users of Facebook, LinkedIn (not so much) and Twitter are almost certainly older than you think they are. Whether you want to meet your kids or your parents on any of them is totally up to you, take care, is all I would advise.

I originally posted this this time last year, and nothing has changed other than a great many people who told me they would never touch Facebook (didn't have the time) have now 'given in'. Also since then I've made some really good friends through Facebook, met people I'm now doing business with, and carried on Tweeting.............a lot.

I was on BBC 2 recently arguing with a journalist about Facebook, which had just reached half a billion users globally. She wanted it to disappear down a black hole. I did not. The main point is that it won't. It, or whatever it may morph into, is here with is to stay. Constant contact, user generated content and easy interaction with people across the globe is now the norm.

Far better to accept it, learn how to use it properly and educate others about it's use than moan about spilt milk. That is quite simply a waste of time.