Tag Archives: The Social Network
I commented on someone’s blog once that had Facebook been around while Zuckerberg was in school on that fateful night when his girlfriend broke up with him, instead of going back to his dorm and creating what later became Facebook, he would have gone back to his dorm, logged onto Facebook, maybe posted some nasty things but probably wouldn’t have created anything. He wouldn’t even had needed to blog about it. A vehicle for his coed hotness comparison campaign would have already been there, all of their pics would have already been in front of him, and a way to reach all of his “friends” would be a click away. (All of this is based on the movie, The Social Network, by the way.) When I suggested this, the blogger disagreed, saying that Zuckerberg may have created something else. While that may be true, especially given Zuckerberg’s immense talents, for most people it is not.
I have a teen son. He’s quite a good student, an honor student, actually, and has plenty of extracurricular activities. But when he’s free he logs on Facebook or plays video games, and probably finds other things to look at online . . . but I digress . . .
After our shared laptop was serviced and consequently wiped clean of all software, I asked my son to reinstall Word and the printer’s software. After all, he hogs that computer the most (and I actually wanted to see if he would do it). He didn’t. I realized later that he didn’t know how, and lost interest in trying to figure it out, because, in the meantime, Facebook and school websites were still accessible. When he needed to print something, instead of installing the software he simply printed it from a different computer.
In the end, I installed the software. Pain in the butt, but certainly do-able.
So here’s a teen boy –and according to the GoDaddy Superbowl commercial, we know that it’s the boys who are computer smart, but I digress (and gag) . . . here’s a teen boy, my oldest child, who didn’t have the patience or immediate need to figure out software installation, yet he spends hours on the computer.
Has my son ever built a website for fun? I think not. Oh, he’s quite comfortable finding his assignments and teacher’s notes online, researching, and posting and emailing school papers to the appropriate people, but he doesn’t try to create much, except when he finds something funny to put on his Facebook page or Facebook group. In other words, he’s proficient at communicating over the internet, but not creating or problem solving.
Unlike Zuckerberg, who said, what if we made this . . .
It makes one wonder.
If there was no Facebook or the like as a ready-made distraction, would my kid would have taken an extra fifteen minutes to click– next, continue, next, continue and gotten a sense of satisfaction from “Congratulations, Software Installation Complete.”
I don’t know, but I do know that he does take great satisfaction in the number of “likes” he’s received on a recent photo of himself that someone else took and posted on Facebook. And I recently became aware that he doesn’t even think to empty his recycle bin — an omission that caused him some embarrassment, by the way.
Years go it seemed somebody usually knew a kid who could fix your computer when it crashed or edit or back-up your family photos and videos, or find a document that you mistakenly deleted. Now, it seems — not so much. I guess there’s no need to be comfortable with basic computer maintenance or programming when the internet works — or you can just log onto another computer, or phone or tablet.
The Zuckerberg’s of today might have a bad date, go home, spend a few hours on Facebook (instead of creating it), maybe watch a movie on Netflix, and go to bed.
I suspect when my kid gets his heart-broken for the first time that’s what he’ll do.
I’d rather he write a song.
Just Me With . . . software installation complete, no thanks to the youth of today.
Next time I’ll get one of the girls to do it.
This post is inspired by another post on Tango.com where it was noted that this new Google+ site doesn’t have “divorced” as an option for a relationship status. I tend to think that was not an oversight and also probably a good idea.
It led me to ponder something that really bothers me. What should my relationship status be on social networking sites?
Here’s the technical truth: I am not dating anyone, casually or seriously, no one, nada, nothing. BUT, I had been married for many years, had children, and my divorce is final, done, released from the bonds of matrimony, papers signed and stamped. So ordered. That said, what box should I check in the cyber-world, what boxes should there be, what do I say when meeting someone? What exactly is my relationship status?
We all know what “Married” means. I’m not married. Next . . .
Single? The meaning of this word has changed in usage. Some very young people might not even know that traditionally single meant unmarried, period. Didn’t matter if you were in a committed, monogamous, serious relationship or even engaged. If you aren’t married, you are single. Thus, it was a term reserved for adults of marrying age. It wasn’t a relationship status, it was a marital status. Now the word is used to describe one’s availability for new dating/romantic/sexual relationships.
But in this society is a woman allowed to say single if she’s been down the aisle? Ironically, it’s okay to say single all you want if you’ve been around the block many times, or have a string of horrible failed relationships, but once down that aisle, you are forever DIVORCED, according to social networking.
Yet “Divorced” is not really a relationship status at all, really. I mean if I say divorced I am really talking about how one — not even my last — relationship ended. To be fair, if I have to check “Divorced” and constantly reference the end of that relationship, shouldn’t others have to say how their last major relationship ended? For example, there should be boxes for broken engagement, runaway bride, kicked out, restraining order, etc. . . ?
Isn’t “Relationship Status” supposed to be a description — a snapshot of the here and now? Isn’t it just asking whether you already have somebody or if are open to meeting someone? The Facebook dude Mark Zuckerberg created the site while he was in a four-year, private, residential university. No undergrads were married or divorced in his demographic, so the whole marital status thing was completely irrelevant to the original Facebook users, and its concept.
Who can forget that scene in the film “The Social Network” where Zuckerberg has the realization that what was missing from Facebook was the “relationship status” option, and he says,
“This is what drives life in college: Are you having sex or aren’t you? It’s why people take certain classes and sit where they sit and do what they do … that’s what The Facebook is gonna be about.”
Duh. That’s what social networking is about. But again, the category “Divorced” does not give any information about whether I’m having sex or am looking to do so.
But can I check the Single box if I’m divorced?
Do I want to?
Does it negate the fact that I was married? A marriage which yielded children?
Am I selling myself short by checking Single and not acknowledging that I have in the past committed to a relationship (read: gotten someone to marry me)?
Actually, I think this is more of an issue for older men. Women are leery of a man past his mid-thirties who has never married, wondering either what’s wrong with him or assuming he is afraid to commit. Although, I guess a woman benefits from checking Divorced if she wants to sidestep the “Spinster” label or false Lesbian rumor — which is sometimes the unspoken assigned fate or status of an older unmarried woman. Sigh.
Or does Single mean never married? Suggesting someone who is single is somewhat virginal, pure? Well, if it does, let’s just call it that. But I still don’t think that’s the point. And never having walked down the aisle does not mean you’re a virgin. I mean you can tell your mother that, but c’mon folks.
For “Sex and The City” fans, remember when Miranda, a never married mother, was shopping for her wedding dress and instructs the saleswoman, “I said, no white, no ivory, no nothing that says ‘virgin’. I have a child. The jig is up.” ? Well, I have children. The jig is up. I’m not virgin. I was, however, married before I had them, and my Ex-husband is their father. So according to my mother I should get credit for not having been married, or not being part of the stereotypical baby mama/daddy drama. Okay, but all of that relates to the status of my relationship with my children’s father. It’s not my current relationship status. Must I forever be defined by my relationship with him? humph. I don’t want to stamp my forehead or profile or chest with “Failed Marriage” forever — or until I marry again. That’s just not fair.
The Divorced option shouldn’t even be there. Really, it doesn’t make sense. My Ex-husband is also divorced, obviously. Yet he has remarried. So how can his relationship status be married while mine is divorced? No! No! No! He’s married, I’m single. I mean someone can be divorced or widowed previously and yet currently be in a relationship, engaged, married or completely available. I should be able to wave my naked left hand and do Beyoncé’s Single Ladies dance even though I was once married, just as he has been able to have a wedding and sport a new ring even though he had been married before — and the social networking sites should acknowledge both my new singleness and his new marriage — without reference to our past divorce.
In conversations in real life I prefer to tell people I’m single and then add as part of conversation, yes, I have children, and yes, I’m divorced. For a minute I thought I should create a new status, “Dwingle” — it would acknowledge an earlier marriage (for the children’s sake), but still sounds almost single. But really, the last thing any of us need is another relationship status, another option, another box to check.
I think I’m going to refuse to reference my failed marriage as my calling card. It’ll come up in conversation, but I don’t have to wear it as some sort of a badge or sign. The ring is off. It’s done. I mean there are some “never-marrieds” who have just as much baggage as I do that they don’t have to check (pun intended, get it?).
All in all, Zuckerberg’s initial simplicity, me-thinks, was right, except for the word “single.” I suggest we all use, simply:
In a relationship
Not in a relationship
As a bonus, these categories work whether one is gay or straight. And, they give an out to the people who have a friend with benefits, but don’t know what to call it. A “Married” option is really redundant, because if married, one is, by definition, in a relationship and therefore it doesn’t need to be there. Jokes abound, though, “Yeah, I’m married, but it’s not a relationship” or “Dude, you’re not in a relationship, you’re married.” So why not just keep the married option? Well, then it raises the whole marriage equality issue and whether the state the gay couple is in permits same sex marriage, or whether there was a civil union, etc. Really none of that matters when the information truly sought is current availability, so why open up the marriage option at all, to anyone? (Answer: Married people would freak if it wasn’t there. Gay or straight, many people want to acknowledge their marriages. Whatever. )
Well, that’s it, that’s all. Either a person is available now or not. The sites don’t have to provide a box for every possible scenario or every past event. We aren’t talking about filling out tax returns, passport applications, or federal background checks here. It’s freakin’ social networking!!! But unfortunately now, a simple, “Not in a relationship” seems never to be an option, and “Divorced” often is. For me? I guess I’m just Single, or Dwingle or damn it Divorced, if you force me to say, or depending on my mood. Geesh.
Just Me With . . . a relationship status.