Gemma Styles: The Pros And Cons Of Dealing With Your Parents On Social Media
The Debrief: There's nothing worse than your mum commenting on a picture of your new crush on Facebook. But don't write off your parents on social media just yet...
Photograph by Matilda Hill-Jenkins
I was chatting this week with someone about my mum. A fairly common occurrence - I’m a wild one - but in this case it was specifically about my mum on Twitter and how nice it is that she’s supportive of me (and that other kid). I’m quite lucky in that I’ve never thought about it too much; for those people who live with the daily grief of a parent inviting them and their extended social circle to games of Candy Crush I suppose the whole online might be more of a headache. While I’m still the go-to guy for tech support queries such as backing up an iPhone (answer: it will do what it wants), my mum likes things, uses abbreviations appropriately and quotes tweets and all sorts. After extensive surveying of my own delightful friends I’ve identified some of the leading pros and cons of parental profiles.
Cons: they drop you in it
It’s a classic. See it all the time. Someone’s uploaded a picture to Facebook looking a bit cosy with A N Other and right from the start Mum and Auntie Sue are weighing in with an ‘Ooooh what a cute couple!’ ‘Is this the one you were telling your cousin about?’ ‘When do we get to meet her then?’ The rest of the world empathetically melts into a pool on the floor and burgeoning love interest disappears into the ether. Another one bites the dust – thanks Mum.
As much as they can be a blight on your notifications day-to-day – they make great social media for everyone else. The amount of LOL-worthy posts I’ve enjoyed titled something along the lines of ’38 Times Parents Ruined Facebook’ etc etc etc is just a blessing. They ask the best questions: ‘What is a Twitter thing called again? A twit?’ and their endearing forays into the public forum, while burning up the faces of their beloved offspring, are perfectly relatable viral fodder. At the other end of the lovey-dovey spectrum, familial humour can equally spring out of entirely un-mum-like text messages; the popularity of Instagram accounts such as @yourshittyfamily just goes to prove it. Because if other people’s parents are talking about herpes and hand jobs then you can suck it up and cope with yours posting baby pictures on your birthday.
Their love can be embarrassing
It’s a great day. The fiiiit person you met at your friend’s birthday drinks has added you on Facebook – and the dance has begun. After waiting several hours to accept, obviously because you’re far too busy and cool to be on Facebook all day, you gleefully become FACEBOOK OFFICIAL MATES. Off to your own profile to appraise yourself from their point of view - and 9/10 posts in the last week are your dad tagging you in thrifty Groupon offers for bulk packs of loo roll or your mum sharing floral memes about your children becoming your best friends. It’s all appreciated and of lovely sentiment – but God where’s that hide post button again?
...But also the greatest
If guaranteed likes are what you’re after then the humans who made you are generally a good bet. Parents or parental figures have likely been following your achievements since the day you were born – they were pretty stoked when you first held up your own head or tied your own shoes, so it’s a safe bet they’re going to be the proudest followers on your roster once you’re a fully grown person who does funny tweets or starts their own blog. Your ideas are the best, you looked gorge on Saturday night and you must be shared with the other mum friends for bragging rights immediately.
So, in summary – whether you’re annoyed by their over-egging, over-sharing or over-caring… remember it could always be worse. If all else fails you’ll probably get some retweets from the story, eh?
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