By Pauline Dyson
Not to brag or anything, but I am the only octogenarian in my group of friends who is on Facebook nearly every day.
The rest are not on social media at all, largely because they distrust this newfangled modern way of communication.
Identity theft, Russian hackers, and fear of personal information being purloined are not irrational worries, in my estimation. Intellectually, I know the dangers. So my personal information is just waiting to be stolen by hackers, scammers and other nefarious trolls.
Curiously, I do not care as much as my friends about these very real risks, perhaps because I, naively or not, believe that no one out there in cyberspace really wants my personal data.
At the age of 81, clearly in what my primary doctor calls, not so euphemistically, the “dying age,” I figure that were I to be, God forbid, taken seriously ill, too sick to post my latest photo of Buffalo snow out my window, all my 100 friends on Facebook would immediately call, email or post a note of concern about my well-being.
Facebook is acclaimed to be the favorite spot for posting grandchildren and pet pictures. Absent pets in my household and with six grandchildren beyond the cute baby stage of life, I should not even be bothered with it. Besides, teens and young adults of my grandkids’ ages avoid FB in favor of Instagram, Twitter and other more popular ways to get in touch with friends.
Only two of my six grandkids have FB profiles but even they do not post, so I have to discount this easy method to keep in touch with their varied activities. If and when their pictures appear on my computer screen, it is because one of my grandkid’s fellow college student friends has posted it.
I discovered that a granddaughter, studying this semester in London, took a trip to Spain, only because her friend posted a photo of them in front of Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia cathedral on Facebook. Even my daughter did not know about her college junior daughter’s trip, but then again, she is not on FB either.
When I posted a family vacation picture last summer, my son asked me kindly to take it off, because I happened to mention that one of the six grandchildren pictured had a broken heart. Though I did not identify the gender, face or name of the grieving grandchild who split up with her boyfriend on vacation, my son was sure that his daughter’s college friends across the country on Facebook would identify her as the one with a broken heart.
As for other means of communication, I must admit that a few of my 80-year-old friends who disdain FB, unlike me, are smart enough to have smartphones. It’s my personal choice not to own that body appendage device, and as far as texting goes, I’m lost. Too many button pushes on my Tracfone to make a coherent thought, let alone an understandable sentence. Oh, I know, sentences are redundant on smartphones.
Another age-based bias I have is spelling out words and sentences, but at least I do know the meaning of LOL, OMG, etc., and as my Facebook friends will attest, I have used those and others on the rare occasion when my political posts call for an expletive deleted.
I’m not embarrassed though, because at least my octogenarian friends don’t know what the acronyms stand for – and neither do my family members who do not follow me on Facebook.
Pauline Dyson, of Williamsville, says she is the only octogenarian she knows on Facebook.