Lessons Learned from 7 Years on Facebook…

Warning: War and Peace was shorter. If you’re looking for the blog pic, now you know why it’s missing.

I can see where FB will come in handy for my Alzheimer’s years. Several times I have wondered how long I’ve been on FB…tomorrow it will have been 7 years. I originally wrote the first 38 “lessons” 2 years ago.  In only 2 short years I’ve “learned” nearly 20 new lessons. But you may want to read the first 38 again, because there are updates! For those of you who joined FB right after Zuckerberg, I’m sure 7 years seems like a very ho-hum fact.  But, for moms, it’s rather monumental. Because in 2006 I only knew one other mom who stalked her kids’ pages on FB. And she stalked long before we called it stalking.

I was getting concerned about what the daughter was spending so much time doing on this thing called Facebook.  And so I took my lunch hour to create an account to check privacy issues, etc.  My naive thinking was: “I’ll create the account, check on her and then delete the account.” WRONG!  Here’s why:

1. If you create your account right now, the daughter will post to your wall 5 seconds later.  And this was before smart phones.  And she was at school at the time.  Ahem.

2. Just when you think you’re irrelevant to the next generation, 8 teens will comment on your status statements and/or obnoxious note postings. Don’t know what a Facebook note is? It’s what we did to entertain ourselves on FB before games, apps and sharing.

3. You can write 536 pages of FB notes in 6 years while mothering, working, going to grad school, dealing with migraines, planning a wedding, planning graduation celebrations, dealing with your demented dad (literally), planning family funerals, going on date nights and vacations with the hubby, training for the 3 Day, fundraising for the 3 Day, walking the 3 Day and renovating your bathroom.

4.  If you insert the phrase, “and a partridge in a pear tree” into your next note on FB, it will instantly get a comment. I haven’t figured out why this is true yet.

5. Just when you thought you could get away with posting something truly devious on FB, your entire family (including your in-laws), your boss, your minister, your kids’ teachers and your dog will all join FB. I haven’t noticed much action on the dog’s page. What is she hiding? Dog bones, most likely.

6. The best way to know who my son is dating is to look for recent comments on his wall. Bwahahahaha. (Unfortunately, he’s now on to me.) But it was handy for his formative years.

7. If the girlfriend requests you as a friend, it’s serious!

8. If the boyfriend requests you as a friend, it’s really serious!

9. If the boyfriend starts asking you questions about your daughter on FB, start recording “Say Yes to the Dress” on your DVR. I love you, DSL. 🙂

10.  If you write 536 pages of notes on FB in 6 years, you will start getting the following ads on your feed: self-publishing companies, writing workshops, and “How would you like to pilot the next web site by FB? We will feature writers prominently.”  Even I still don’t completely consider myself a writer. Writers have published books.

11. When you tell 50 college students that you have 400 friends and have been on FB for 7 years, they will laugh in your face. And yes, I know for you massively popular folks out there with over 1000+ friends, 400 is a drop in the bucket, but here’s a little factoid to ponder…I rarely, if ever, send a friend request.  If you get one from me, consider yourself at the top of my A List.

12. Just when you set your privacy settings to prevent weirdos from seeing your stuff, 5 strangers will request you. Supposedly to read your 536 pages of notes.  Yeah, okay. Right. Either they don’t have a life, or they are…friends of your kids. What?!? See # 2.

13. Want to have fun on FB sometime?  Write 536 pages of notes and then post one asking for suggestions on what to name your future book…oh, my.  Let’s just say that the next generation is far more literate than we give them credit for and they know me way too well.

14. Etsy is a site where people make a lot of things and then sell them. You name it…it’s sold there. The scary part is that I didn’t know I needed this stuff. I wouldn’t be surprised if they sell…partridges in a pear tree…and the bird seed to feed them. See # 4.

15. When you get bored with FB, start a Pinterest account.  The number of people following me on Pinterest scares me, quite frankly.  It’s the Like feature on FB with pictures…and it’s dangerous…to my wallet and my waistline. But oh, so handy, when helping the daughter plan a wedding.

16. Just when I get used to where everything is on my feed, profile and note-writing interface, FB will move it.  This will tick me off for about 2 weeks, until I find some feature I can’t live without. That Mark Zuckerberg is such a clever guy. Hmmm…

17. Everyone else will be ticked off for the same two weeks.

18.  For my middle-aged and more senior friends, I have somehow now become the “Supreme Overlord Potentate” of how to navigate FB successfully as a newbie.  And that leads me to # 19….

19.  The Tribe is not a group of Native Americans. And they have a language all their own.  If you hang with them long enough, they may translate for you, but don’t count on it.

20. You can say really interesting things about your husband because he is foolish enough to stay off FB….bwahahahaha. Unfortunately, all my FB friends will tell him about it.

21. Because you entered that you were married to your husband in 2007, FB assumes that you have only been married for 6 years. This is news to my grown-up children who all claim him as Dad. They even have the birth certificates to prove it.

22. When you announce to the FB world that you have attended your first grad school class, FB will start sending you ads about considering various online grad schools for your degree. Zuckerberg:  Timing is everything. You should understand that concept.

23. The most original, funny, thought-provoking status statements will come from people who no longer have an account on FB. Grr. Fortunately, peer pressure will usually intervene and they’ll be back on FB when they realize that Twitter isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

24. When you are deep in thought trying to write something pithy on FB, that’s when your teenage son will decide, for once, to tell you all the details of his life. Yes, youngest child, that one was for you.  But, that’s okay…that’s what Moms are for. I’m not complaining, just noting.

25. When you brag about how you really care about the correct spelling of all words on FB, that’s when you will post a note with 5 typos. Double Grr. I probably have 5 here already. And let’s not even talk about my creative use of grammar…as in this very sentence.

26. FB knows how to stab you right in the heart when it asks you to reconnect with someone you haven’t heard from in a while on FB. If FB figures out how to friend my “heavenly friends,” I’m theirs for life….even if they move my stuff around again. (Thankfully, Zuckerberg figured out that some profiles are kept “active” for memorial purposes and this “feature” has now been deleted. I like to think it’s because of this note. I enjoy living in Fantasyland.)

27. My friends are diverse on FB. Keeping up with that diversity is what has made me an insomniac for 7 years.  Prior to that I was just a sleep-deprived mother.

28. I do not like ads for sites where I have to give them email addresses in order to see the site.  Hear that, FB??? (Apparently, they are not listening, because Zuckerberg is now trying to make money off of FB. As if his fortune wasn’t already big enough.)

29. I do not like apps that ask me to fill out a ridiculous survey in order to tell me what my Star Trek name is, etc. (This does now seem fairly diminished in popularity, probably because all of them asked for your email address and Zuckerberg wasn’t making enough money off of them. See # 28.)

30.  Perhaps the best function of FB is to allow people to say they’re having a rough time.  When it’s your turn to express such thoughts, expect to instantly get at least a handful of comments from your friends telling you it’s going to be okay.  Many of us will be blessed to have even more. Some friends will even make a date with you to cheer you up.

31. Forgetful about birthdays? Be on FB! And for the record, I don’t supply my birthday upon request…it’s already on  the feed! And no, I don’t put down the year for my b-day. Deal with it.

32. Feeling like Molly Ringwald on your birthday? Join FB. What’s even more impressive is that each wish comes with a specific inside joke between you and that friend. And if you have no idea why I referred to Molly Ringwald, it’s an inside joke for those of us who appreciate John Hughes and Easy A.

33. In 2005 I thought the words friend and message were nouns. Today I think otherwise.  They are some of the most “active” words in my vocabulary now.

34. I am not a Tweeter. Watch. Tomorrow I will subscribe to Twitter. (I now have 143 Twitter followers. Tomorrow it will probably be 2 and then on Friday it will probably be 150. Conclusion? Twitter folks are really fickle.  #feelingfickleaboutTwitter.)

35. My FB notes were often longer than my grad school papers. This is because I was writing FB notes to avoid writing grad school papers.

36. Never friend your professors. Oops. Too late. Hi, Dr. A. Hi, Dr. L. Yes, the paper was turned in on time. No guarantees on typos or proper grammar, though.

37.  What is myspace?

38. The last person to comment on your wall, 7 years later, will be…your now married daughter..while she’s in school. There’s goes Mother of the Year again. Can I at least blame her smart phone now???

39. FB notes were very convenient for the thoughts racing through my head at 1 am until I decided to start this blog and move them to MIP. That only took two months of non-stop work.

40. After writing FB notes for 6 years, you will have enough fodder for your blog for the next 3 years.

41. When you don’t think keeping up with a Twitter following, your personal FB page and your blog is enough, start a professional page on FB. And the people who like my page are not fickle. See # 34.

42. Book agents will not look at your stuff until you have 1000 for both # 34 and # 41. Guess that means I’m self-publishing my books. That’s okay–I really don’t like query letters, book outlines and giving a random critic 15% of my income anyway.

43. Your best source for writing feedback? The hubby who’s still never been on FB.

44. If your writing is getting a little stagnant, go to Alaska for 12 days and then write about it afterwards. I think I should get a commission from alaskatravel.com for all the subsequent business I’ve now sent their way. They apparently listen just as well as Zuckerberg. See # 28.

45. Heart attacks are a great way to drive readership on FB, Twitter and your blog. Thus, I plan on scheduling 1 health crisis per year. This shouldn’t be too difficult since I only have about 5 conditions that are all potentially-life threatening. The tricky part will be to figure out how to have them without spending $ 139,000. Does that mean a book agent has to pay 15% of that cost? If so, then I retract # 42.

46. I can now tell FB how much I hate their ads. However, Zuckerberg still isn’t listening. See # 28.

47. I have learned to hate Candy Crush Saga and I’ve never played a single game of it. I learned not to play FB after watching perfectly sane people lose it over their cows in Farmville. The counselor in me is thinking of starting a support group for people addicted to FB games. I think I could make some money off of this. Of course the book agent and Zuckerberg will probably want 15% each. But, I think I’m okay with this. Move over, Warren Buffett…another gazillionaire is born.

48. I now know the latest info on every ball team in the nation, the latest in the news, and what twerking is without ever having to visit other web sites. I think I could have lived without knowing the latter.

49. Never, ever begin a discussion on politics on FB.

50. The only caveat to # 49 is saying that you’re ready to throw every last member of Congress out of office in 2013. That’s good for about 15,000 likes.

51. Where is the “Dislike” button? When trying to comfort someone, “liking” their statement just seems flat wrong. How about a “I care about you” button??? Oh, my bad. Zuckerberg isn’t listening. See # 28.

52. The amount of “stuff” on my feed has exponentially increased since 2006. I’m thinking of creating a “Where’s Waldo?” app for FB. Yessss…another gazillionaire idea. Of course, you can only play it if you request that all of your friends play it and you ask for their email addresses. See # 28 and # 47.

53. Never, ever ask FB to give you updates on your phone unless you enjoy plugging in your phone.

54. I used to read my church’s newsletter to know what’s going on at my church. Now, I just go to my church’s page. Madalyn Murray O’Hair just rolled over in her grave and 5 blog readers just googled her.

55. Sharing used to involve giving something to another person that originally belonged to you. Now it means taking someone’s else’s stuff and claiming it as your own brilliance. Guilty as charged.

56. I rarely leave my home thanks to the 5 life-threatening health conditions and yet I know more about my neighbors than I did when I actually walked my entire neighborhood daily. This. Is. Scary. And the last sentence is also an FB innovation. Period. Exclamation. Point.

57. In 2006 I was too scared to write publicly. And writing a book was even more scary. Now, I’m writing 2 books and a blog. That is all due to Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg and my faithful family and friends who interact with me there daily. You have my profound thanks for turning me into a raving lunatic writer.

Maybe in 7 more years I’ll understand Twitter. #hopeless

Friday’s Post: The very first MIP Book Club Day! Be there!

You might also like: Lessons Learned from the 2009 Dallas Breast Cancer 3 Day, Lessons Learned from Facebook Page Insights, & Lessons Learned from Heart Attacks 3 & 4

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013 at 10:50 am and is filed under Lessons Learned. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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