Editors' Picks

Facing Facebook Without Directions


"Why isnt my pencil eraser working on my phone?!!" - Photo by Austin Arnett

DEAR CA & AC  —  

I simply cannot understand Facebook.  What’s wrong with email, or texting, or (g-d forbid), the TELEPHONE?  (Don’t get me started on Snapchat, Instagram, or the one that just made those boys 16 BILLION dollars). 

There is no good “Facebook Directions” Handbook, and my kids have all moved out, so I don’t have my computer advisors around anymore.



How good of you to give vent to what is a common frustration among the over-30 set. And one that your confidants at the LCC have wrestled with themselves though they are loathed to admit it.

What exactly do you want to DO with your Facebook account? If you have the same run-of-the-mill needs that most of us have (i.e., to snoop on family, friends, and acquaintances with a minimal posting of your private life) then we say THIS IS NOT COMPLICATED! Breathe deeply, start pushing buttons and see what clicks. Indiscriminate button pushing has worked wonders for your own CA though she admits that the occasional disaster has also occurred.

Figuring out how to fix those disasters should boost your confidence and might also improve your brain function. As our brains age, linear thinking becomes more challenging. Mastering FB and other social networks is a way to keep those gray cells exercised.

We have full confidence in your technical prowess. And we know if it proves too difficult you have the brains to staff it out to an expert or neighbor who thrives on these kinds of challenges. Trust us; your children are not the only ones who know their way around Cyberland.

Once you are comfortable on FB, you should remain alert for one significant minefield. That is, the temptation to inundate your “friends” with thousands of grandchild or pet photos. Do NOT post any image unless it is VERY entertaining! One person I know constantly posts grandchild photos. And we mean constantly. No child is that interesting. On the other hand, someone else delights in posting videos of her pooch. But that worthy dog is a born entertainer whose antics bring a smile to all who view them.


DEAR ANR  —   

Our Dear CA is surely referring to the videos of my Grand Dogs, the beautiful and brilliant Little Dorrit and the handsome and fierce Augusto.  If you—or any of my other Dear Readers—are not yet acquainted with Dorrie, the Pug or Prince and Harry, the Havaneses, you must let me know.  Gran Mamá will shower you with clips of their latest performances.

As for posting your own videos and photos on Facebook,  you would be wise to heed your Dear C’s cautionary words. It’s fine to post occasional pictures of immediate family (and distant relatives, if they are very famous). As a rule of thumb, update photos no more often than, say, every two years, enough time for weight gain, hair loss, cosmetic improvements, etc. to become discernible. 

Without your restraint, Facebook will become as boring and déclassé to our generation as family-vacation slideshows became for our parents’ generation.

Speaking of generations, Facebook was designed, not for us, but for our children, which is why it didn’t come with an operating manual. The Millennial Generation (born 1980 – 2000) grew up playing on computers. When was the last time you saw a child read an instruction manual to find out how a toy works?

Boomers raised our brilliant little Tech Gens to believe that something as pedestrian as an operating manual was beneath them; they were special and could do anything. (Remember those trophies we handed out when they were little to bolster their self-esteem?)  Some of our progeny may still be wondering why they didn’t grow up to be Mark Zuckerbergs. They may not own a multi-billion computer application, but when they get an application to work without an instruction manual, they enjoy the illusion that they were the ones who invented it, or at least were part of the team that created it.

Having never even considered attempting something new on a computer without reading detailed instructions first, I get pleasure just knowing that answers to all my questions are only a search-engine click away. 

So, if I may suggest the obvious: Google “how to Facebook.” You should find yourself in possession of a Facebook “cheat sheet.”  Keep scrolling and you should find entries to more advanced problems: how to hack facebook, how to facebook stalk. And, finally, for when Facebook has become too much part of your life, there is how-to defeat your Facebook addiction.


1 Comment on Facing Facebook Without Directions

  1. Thanks for the info/commentary. I will google “how to use Facebook” when I want to do more than just snoop on my friends. As my youngest daughter has pointed out (to make me feel better), no one ever posts bad news, or even NEUTRAL news…it’s all about the super good stuff ONLY.

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