My grandmother recently joined Facebook. A pretty big feat for a woman who is 79 and has barely swiped a smart phone in her life.
But, in a bid to stay connected with nine grandchildren who are sprawled across the globe, she thought it would be a good idea to get “on the line”.
So she’s joining the 43 per cent of over 65s across the world (yes, it’s seriously that many) who now use Facebook. But unlike many in this demographic, she has never turned on a computer by herself. Can’t easily access the internet, and can’t remember which way to slide when she answers her mobile phone. Her landline is the main form of technology in her house. And when I say ‘landline’ I don’t mean walk-around phone. I mean one that is still connected to the wall.
When she first heard about Facebook, she asked if she should go to Dymocks and buy it because everyone was talking about it and seemed to be enjoying it.
Yet, despite all that, she is now online. And I know the experience will be painful for both her and everyone she knows. I feel like most other grandchildren and want to tell her all the reasons I wish she’d give it a miss.
1. It will take her 6 months minimum to work out how to use it.
First, she’ll have to work out the computer. This involves turning it on. Via the ‘on’ button. “But there are lots of buttons. The screen has a button. The big black box has a button. Even the bloody mouse has a button. Which button do I press?” That’s what she will think.
Once she has the buttons down pat, she'll have to get onto the actual internet. Then recall her password.
Then she has to remember how to do all this. Again. And again.
2. Once she has worked out to use it, she will ring up to check she is doing it right.
"Hi darling - I've pressed the button, but I can't seem to open up my website. Someone wrote on the wall - I had a look but I just can't seem to work out what it is. Can you help?"
"Hi darling, it's me again. The wall is now saying that I need to tell them what's on my mind. Why would I tell them what's on my mind? I mean, it's very nice of them to ask but really - I don't have anything on my mind at the moment bar working out how to get to the wall."
"Why are people poking me? Why do I need to be poked? Can I be unpoked? Can I poke people? Do I have to let people know when I poke them? Can I unpoke people or once I poke, is it okay?"
"In my day, poking used to mean something A LOT different."
4. She will ask - and accept - random people to be her friend.
It's not that easy to send a friend request, but chances are my grandmother will accidentally send something to someone that will lead to her asking all of my friends to be friends. Somehow, the universe will conspire and it will happen. And then she will call me and I will have to unfriend them all.