I had no choice but to get on Facebook. Thelma, my editor, made me do it. Although a comparatively late convert, I’m now hopelessly but happily hooked. In fact, I don’t let a day pass by without scanning, reading and taking part in Facebook conversations.
In fact, I’m getting to be a bolder and more active participant, provoked to remark upon or actually reply, sometimes even to irrational, tasteless and outright gutter posts. But I’m also inspired to “like” interesting and useful ones.
There are some I regularly follow, like Amy Cu Unjieng’s, even if I sometimes die of envy when she shares pictures of her family Sunday meals and the fun she has with her children and, especially, grandchildren who, I gather, practically live with her—such good-looking girls and boys. I love shots of her lush and well-kept garden. Most of all, I like to see how gorgeous she’s kept herself all these years.
The other posts I watch for are of Backie Celdran’s recipes. Backie is another gorgeous and accomplished woman, as knowledgeable and talented in the kitchen, garden, home and fashion as Amy. She has a bed and breakfast resort/farm in Batangas I‘ve been meaning to visit.
Quite a number of seniors have indeed ventured into Facebook, sharing and taking shares in return, opening up and probing, and all in all taken with it; well, I haven’t noted anyone dropping out. But I know of some not even curious or inclined. I myself, had Thelma not asked, might have kept away, thinking I was not high-tech enough.
At any rate, I discovered Facebook learnable enough. I realized I had thought of it mistakenly as some friends tend to do in the case of aqua-aerobics, now my favorite exercise, that it was only for swimmers. One need only not be afraid of water, and be prepared to make a commitment to get up three times a week at 7 a.m., no matter how late one stayed up the night before.
Facebook requires only a cell phone and, as anything addictive, a certain measure of self-discipline, because one could easily lose track of time going from post to post and lose sleep, a no-no for seniors in particular.
I don’t know how many of us six million Filipino seniors have decided to spend some of their remaining years on Facebook. I know not a few still in denial, using cell phones maybe, but refusing still to venture into Facebook. I’m surprised to find writers among them, and, in general, people whose lives and livelihood might be made easier and enjoyable by Facebook.
There will always be resistors to change, which is okay, I guess, as long as they don’t feel left behind. Facebook and also Facetime are actually easy enough to manage technologically. If only as a means for seniors to stay engaged, they should try them.
When I was doing my little random survey of seniors about Facebook, I came across holdouts who, interestingly enough, didn’t seem the least bit pressured being off it.
The stage and movie actor Noel Trinidad said he wasn’t interested in getting on at all: He treasures his privacy. He only uses his iPhone for e-mailing, texting and taking pictures.
Sony Madamba, teacher, writer and author—she taught us College Shakespeare—texts comments on my column now and then, and did so about the last one, on my love for things British. She said, “Get Thee to England, to Shakespeare’s Stratford-on-Avon and Buckingham Palace and all that! How can I believe that a writer and book lover has never set foot in England!”
I took the opportunity to ask if she was on Facebook. Her answer, given not without a hint of pride: “Nope, I’m completely computer illiterate.” I could have turned the tables on her; instead I remarked privately, “How can such a good writer and columnist not be on Facebook!”
As it turned out, I didn’t have to look far for another senior off Facebook—my very own husband, Vergel, who is himself quite proficient with electronic gadgets: “I don’t want to read random thoughts; I want processed thoughts. That is not to say there are none to be found on Facebook. But everything there is all mixed up—again, I want some order; I haven’t the time. I’m research-oriented, and know what I’m looking for.”
Nevertheless, he stops to listen whenever I share with him posts I know he’ll be interested in. Anyway, that’s as close to Facebook as he gets.