My dad is in his mid-70s; an old military man who values information.
He grew up in the era when the internet was a far flung idea and social network wasn’t even coined as an expression for anything. He’s a man I grew up knowing to be a voracious reader, who liked to pick things up and read and talk about them, particularly newspapers and journals. He liked watching the news every night and taking part in the conversations on issues of the day.
It comes as no surprise to me these days when I watch him struggling to catch up on information that slip off the cracks of traditional media.
“Where did you get that news?” he would often ask when he over hears conversations on topics he thinks he should know about but doesn’t.
Oh, I read it on Facebook…
Facebook? Yes. He’d heard about Facebook, in fact, he knows what it is. He has just been unable to fully understand it, the mechanics, how to get on it, even after a cousin of mine gave him an android phone after my dad told him he wanted to be on WhatsApp and have access to Flipboard.
Like I said, he is in his 70s, so the novelty wore off fast especially as most of his friends were still on the analogue, feeding- bottle- looking- type of mobile phones of the early 2000s.
So, I wasn’t surprised when he said weeks later, “Wo, this phone is confusing jare, just give me one I can call and text on and I’ll be fine.”
He was fine until he realized there was so much more an android could offer…yes, like Facebook. Ehen!
So, whenever there’s a topic daddy misses out on, he would ask, “What does your Facebook say today?” and if I tell him there’s some hot topic going on, he would go “Let me read it,” immediately stretching his hand to receive the device.
He’ll read, and give back. This happened only for a while, but now, he is making serious inquiries.
“This Facebook thing you guys yap about, I want to join, can a man in his seventies join? How do I register?”
We were all silent.
Then we all burst out laughing at the ridiculous idea.
Dad, join Facebook? Aww, come offit!
“Your friends aren’t there anyway, so it won’t be fun,” we told him.
And as we said this, different scenarios began to play in my head.
First off, we would be forced to be his friends, so would our friends particularly those he knows very well.
I can almost hear him berating someone, “Toni, I sent you a friend request since last week, you did not even accept it, is this how you will treat me after all these years?”
Toni would reply, “No sir, I didn’t see it.”
“Ha! You are calling an old man a liar?”
He would stammer a reply but dad would have none of that, “Oya, don’t waste time, accept it now, open your phone…” and so would all my friends be bullied into accepting him as friend; they would all be stalked for the rest of dad’s social media days.
Daddy is a pensioner, so he spends most of his time watching Crime channel and Sonymax, I see him discarding his prime seat in front of the TV to lowering his head and scrolling through his phone for the latest post on Facebook.
My siblings, cousins, relatives and friends would be stalked online morning noon and night.
If I put up any post he finds off, I’ll get this- “Depeju, remove that thing you wrote about a man and his wife, such things are not decent, I brought you up well enough, you shouldn’t write things like that.”
Now, I am sure he won’t even bother to call me to say it; he’ll simply write it on my wall…for the world to see.
I remember when my son joined Facebook without my consent at 15 plus, I debated between asking him to delete the account immediately and teaching him a lesson. I let him keep it but with caveats:
1. No embarrassing comments on my wall, particularly when my friends are in on it.
2. No embarrassing posts; like bad grammar and bad spelling, I’ll kill him for those.
3. No stupid photos or of me in an embarrassing position – I’ll cause him bodily harm
5. No comments about our family- he’s done for, if he does
6. No friendship with ‘friends’ who make questionable posts – I must know them.
7. No cry for help on Facebook- talk to me first…
8. No over-familiarity with my ‘friends’- they are old enough to be his parents.
9. No use of abbreviatios like yr, u, fyn, 10nks, etc -I pay good money for his education.
I was still reeling off the number of nos when he said to me, “Maybe I should wait till I’m 18.”
Good boy, now go and delete that account.
He hadn’t the last time I checked but he also hasn’t posted anything…
I am watching, I’ve made him my friend on Facebook and we are favorites. My eyes are everywhere, I’ve told him.
That’s the way dad would be watching us online; we and our friends, cousins and relatives who would be forced to be friends with him. That can be creepy.
So, Dear daddy, perish the thought of you joining Facebook, even Zukerberg won’t be impressed. Just keep enjoying your Sony Max, CBS and CI Channels, besides, mummy will miss your companionship, and that’s something you shouldn’t take for granted, particularly now that we have all fled the coop.
More so, you don’t want rude and snooty kids poking you or telling you off because you see, dad you won’t be able to go report them to their parents.
Facebook is actually faceless and if you insult them too much, they would report you and Facebook may be forced to remove you.
With these few points of mine, I hope I have convinced you and not confused you about the need not to join Facebook.
Thank you, Daddy