1913- THE MOTHER OF ALL ADDICTIONS
By the late-2000s, even the most suspicious of 60-year-olds wanted to know how to upload a profile picture. Social institutions held introductory classes to social media for senior citizens, and children boasted of the tech-savviness of their old folks. “My father's my Facebook friend“ they'd say , to show the family was up to snuff. Now they're out hunting for virgin virtual spaces that haven't yet been discovered and conquered by their mummys and daddys who unwittingly post such praise as `Well done son' when the man brags he scored last night.
“My mother blocked my sister, my wife and me from her FB group two years ago because she felt we were policing her...which we were,“ reports Tapan Durga, who incidentally works in digital media. “My mother joined FB in 2008 and in the early years, lacking all social filters she'd accept any friend request and even hand out our telephone number to some. After fielding a few dodgy calls and discovering romantic overtures made to her by a shady man (sending her flower emojis), I had to watch her back. She has learnt the ways of social media now and even founded and administers a 40-member group on FB, all of them over 55 years. They went on a holiday to Shimla recently , and she even invited a few to my wedding; I was baffled to see strangers around.Her friends call her the FB Dj because she sends out a link to a Hindi film song every morning,“ says Durga who got his mother a smartphone a few years ago to relieve her of the laptop she'd lug everywhere to stay connected.
While most of them have taken to social media like Snoop Dogg to Instagram, some have teething trouble. “My 78-year-old mom, Seema, tried posting something on Facebook some time back,“ recalls Saba Mirza, a homemaker in Mumbai, “She wrote it but forgot to post it, and for the next half hour ranted about how slow our MTNL Wifi was,“ laughs Mirza, whose mother initially had her daughter greenflag her posts before she hit Go. “On another occasion, looking at the FB prompt `people you may know', she wondered aloud “How do so many people know I'm on Facebook!“ Mirza recently got her mother a selfie stick and is showing her how to use it. Reginald Fernandes, a 72-year-old picture buff, still uses his phone to shoot and post images.“I usually post around a dozen images a day on my Whatsapp group, though I'm still a bit puzzled by Instagram. I sometimes forget the device is a phone and call it my camera. My 40-year-old son who lives with me, has unfortunately left my Whatsapp group. He complains I take up too much room on his phone. I've advised him to get an upgrade.“
All names have been changed to protect family relations