I remember the day my mother single-handedly ruined rock ’n’ roll for my brother and me. We were teenagers and therefore quite certain of our parents’ lameness. And of course, we had our music—emphasis on our—which both bonded us to our friends and conferred the feeling of power that comes from “getting” something your clueless parents never could. Then came the morning my mother decided to wake us up by belting out a song from Hair—“Good Morning Starshine!” she sang cheerfully. I remember thinking in my half-conscious state, Why is she singing that song? How does she even know it? Has she been listening to my radio station?
My own kids just had their “Good Morning Starshine” moment, only this time, the interloper was me. My sin? I joined Facebook, the social-networking site that until recently was the proud domain of the young, who use it to create an online persona, stay connected with friends, and share music, photos, and videos. But as BusinessWeek reported recently, the “fogeys are flocking to Facebook,” as they discover that it works for professional networking, too. Indeed, 11.5 million Facebook users are 35 or older, more than double the figure from a year ago. As the magazine noted, the desire “to see and be seen” doesn’t necessarily fade with age. But my having plenty of grown-up company is small comfort to my kids; nor are they mollified by the fact that they can block me from seeing their profiles. They just know that something they thought was very cool suddenly became less so. But they shouldn’t despair: Someday, if they’re lucky, they’ll keep the universe in balance by mortifying their own children. - Eric Effron