Do You Remember the Party Line? (This Means the Phone, Not Politics!)

Brother Rod is an oddity of the human race. If you're a long-time reader of this blog, you've met him before. He's been interviewed by PBS, written about in Harper's and talked about in smoke-filled rooms.

Among his other ventures, he writes a weekly column. Today, I'm sharing his most recent column, just 'cause I think it's hilarious and because I can identify with it:

Facebook Friends
By now, you’ve probably heard of the Internet phenomenon called Facebook, even if you are “Old People” like Yours Truly.

To most of the Young Folks, keeping up with the latest Internet fad is easy. It’s second nature. They grew up with the Internet. They understand how to use the Internet. They get it.

But to us Old People, it doesn’t come so easily. It pretty much has to be drilled into us before we even come close to catching on.

There’s too much, and it moves too fast. We can’t keep up.

And if we TRY to keep up, it makes us dizzy, and we end up having to take an extra dose of our medication….or an extra afternoon nap.

Most of us Old People first learn about these new Internet innovations after they’ve caused some trouble, forcing the National News Media to write about them.

Many times, they’re a factor in some sort of violent crime, even murder.

I never knew there were websites that taught people how to make bombs until some wacko used a bomb made from Internet instructions to blow somebody up!

But then, I read about it in the National News Media.

After a website is connected to a murder or two, the whole world hears about it.

And, if you believe everything you read, these websites are killin’ people: MySpace seems to have killed some people; Craigslist is reported to have killed some people; and now, Facebook is said to have killed some people. (It should be noted, however, that GUNS do not kill people… criminals do!)

Anyway, because of all their notoriety, lots of new Old People have now heard of these Internet websites. But, for the most part, the Old People still don’t have a clue what they really are.

So I thought I would offer you a bit of explanation about Facebook, in which I happen to be a participant, so therefore I am qualified to explain it – one Old Person to another. (If you are reading this column in a your local community newspaper, incidentally, the odds are very strong that you are an Old Person. Remember this fact: Young Folks read the Internet; Old People read newspapers. It’s true.)

So, pay attention, Old People – and elbow the Old Person sitting beside you to wake ‘em up – while I explain the Facebook Friends phenomenon:

1. It’s a computer thing. (If I’ve lost you already, stop reading, and go back to reading your newspaper.)

2. It’s on the Electronic Internet, also known at the World Wide Web. While the Internet is still a mystery to most Old People, I have invented a way of explaining it that most Old People can understand: Think back to the old days of the Telephone, and remember what was known as a “Party Line”. Now just imagine that everyone in the whole world is on the same party line… except instead of talking, we’re sending each other words and pictures. That’s the Internet…the World Wide Web.

3. Now, to understand Facebook, think of a Telephone Answering Machine. When somebody calls you, if you don’t answer, they get a recorded message from you, and then they leave a message. Facebook is just like that on the Internet, ‘cept, once again, instead of TALKING, it’s just written words and pictures… and when a friend tries to contact you on the Internet, instead of leaving a voice message, they leave their message in words and pictures.

4. If it’s a Party Line with everybody in the world on it, other people would get to see all your messages, right? Wrong! That’s where your Facebook Friends come in handy.
Facebook allows you to choose the people you will allow to read your messages and see your pictures. Those people are your Facebook Friends. You can ask anyone whose email address you happen to know to become your Facebook Friend… and if they accept, you will now be listed on each others Facebook page as Friends… and you’ll be able to keep up with each other by checking in from time to time.

Now that you know what all the hubbub is about, I’ll invite you to become my personal Facebook Friend, with all the rights and privileges accorded thereto, herewith, whereas, hither, thither and yon.

And, now that you understand the essence of this Internet fad, next week I plan to introduce you to a few of my Facebook Friends, and tell you what they’ve been up to lately. They’re characters, they are. A hoot.

That’s all for this week. It’s 2:00pm already… time for a nap before I eat supper at 3:30 pm…. like Old People do.

1 comment:

Sandee said...

I've an account at facebook, but I don't care for facebook at all. Way too juvenile for me. May I join you for dinner? Me old too. Bwahahahahaha.

Have a terrific day and weekend. :)

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