I AM A (VIRTUAL) SOCIAL BUTTERFLY

I regularly encounter looks of total disbelief and mild contempt from my peers who cannot believe that a reasonably intelligent, middle aged woman (such as I) would be involved in social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. On discovery of my partiality to such sites, I wait to be asked if I am excited about the new season of Big Brother. I am an intelligent, middle aged woman – I hate Big Brother. But I love my virtual life!

Twitter is probably my favourite. It is like being at a busy party with lots of conversations going on at the same time. You can join in or opt out at will. Perfect. I totally get Twitter and have many Twitter friends with whom I tweet daily!

Facebook is another proposition and can be fraught with hidden perils. Some months ago, I signed up and got a profile together. I put a few photos up, linked to some friends and writer colleagues and mainly used it to shout about new blog posts! Then I realised that no matter how careful I was with the photos I put up on my profile, others are free to post their photos with you in them and tag you. So like it or not – the image of you from the mid 80s arrives on your newsfeed. A wee bit un-nerving alright – not to mention highly embarrassing!

Then my daughter’s friends began to send me ‘friend requests’ and it seemed rude to say no. So you accept the ‘friendship’ of 9 and 11 year olds and feel like a trendy mom until your email inbox gets clogged with gifts of animals of all descriptions from FarmVille. . You are asked to mind people’s virtual sheep and goldfish. You get bunches of spring flowers and hearts sent whizzing along the internet highway in your direction. This bestows a feeling of being very busy. Sorry I can’t do dinner just yet, I have to milk the cows on some child’s farm.

Older daughter is 22 and some of her 1.5 million friends have become my Facebook friends too. This brings a different problem altogether. I now get news of each night out, of who was the drunkest and the photos to prove it. This I definitely don’t need. They are getting older now, so this activity is beginning to slow down and my nerves are slightly less frazzled.

The worst aspect of Facebook and the one thing that is guaranteed to make someone my vintage feel very worried indeed is the Friend Request from someone you know you should remember but you don’t. This is enough to send you running off to the nearest memory clinic immediately to get an assessment of just how bad your dementia is.

Did I mention LinkedIn. No? Well that’s ‘cos I don’t get it at all. There is no action on LinkedIn. Nothing to do. And worse of all it doesn’t make me feel loved. No, not at all!

Twitterers photo by lindayshaver