That wacky Facebook

Dateline: Fri 20 Mar 2009

Finally, The Week, which came in the mail today, summarized what I've been suspecting: Facebook is now hot stuff among old fogies -- those aged 35 to 54, the "fastest-growing group on Facebook -- there are now 7 million of us, up 276 percent in the last half of 2008." Good Lord. I know a newspaper company that would kill for those numbers...

If you don't know the M.O. for the British-based The Week magazine, it takes articles from various sources and synthesizes them pithily, presenting three or so perspectives. Sort of a Reader's Digest for today, with global and national news, gossip, biz, health -- the whole megillah, including recipes, real estate and other worthy topics thrown in the mix.

So the word on FB is that "it may be better suited to adults than teens, said Peggy Orenstein in the New York Times," as quoted in The Week. Her premise is that FB stretches the boundaries of social networking for teens and young people, just at a time when they are supposed to be thoughtful and introspective. But for older people, in their 40s, 50s and yes, even 60s, FB represents a way to reconnect.

I'm down with that. I've always said that psychedelics would be more profitably enjoyed by middle-aged people sitting on graceful lawns rather than ratty kids in the throes of rebellion. FB thus is a cool little outlet for other-minded grown-ups.

But not everyone agrees...The Week also quotes Matt Labash of The Weekly Standard, who whines that FB wastes time and turns us all into teen-age girls -- rife with tedious tidbits from our tedious lives.

Oh, bah humbug. Mike Redmond, the humor columnist and former Star/News writer, said it best: "Mike Redmond is not impressed" was his first breath drawn on FB. His last entry? "Going on hiatus from facebook beginning Monday March 16 and ending whenever the hell I feel like it, if ever."

Mike was always the dour comedian -- or was that just irony stamped on his face? -- but his point is well-taken, in this context. While Redmond contemplates the fjords, the rest of us sillyfish social butterflies will continue to blather about. We may be in shallow waters, but so what?

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