Tag Archives | Facebook

parenting will make you nuts, but it’s not as bad as READING about parenting

…and when did “parenting” become a verb, anyway?  Time was, back in the day, a parent was a noun, and what you did was “raise” kids or “try not to drown” kids or “don’t lose the kids in the mall.”  But those were simpler times, I guess.

Probably–if you’re a parent–you have seen (but not yet had time to read because: parent) the spoof in The New Yorker that says “A recent study has shown that if American parents read one more long-form think piece about parenting they will go fucking ape shit.”

And baby, ain’t that the truth?  The only thing possibly worse than people (other than, perhaps, your own mother) telling you how to raise your kids are books telling you how to “be” a woman: lean in, lean out, dress up, don’t dress…. do the hokey-pokey and turn yourself around, that’s what it’s all about.

Feh. Who has time.

The New Yorker spoof, which is satiric and hysterical (adult blinders, anyone?) got posted on my Facebook by lots of people. What I loved, however, is that in its infinite and non-ironic wisdom, FB linked those posts with a whole list of “related articles,” all of which were about. . . parenting. Just in case you hadn’t gone completely ape-shit, FB wants to finish the job:


Screenshot 2014-03-25 08.22.23

Speaking of ape-shit, can anyone explain to me why FB had to go and futz with its layout? I hate it.  Yes, oh snarky reader, I know that facebook is optional and I could turn it off, but we both know that’s just crazy talk and posturing on your part. Without facebook, whatever would I do? Write? Read? Exercise? Clean my damn house?  Feh, again.

So. Resolved: parent is a noun, not a verb; my children will be more or less successful adults, as are their parents and most of the other people in the world; facebook will continue to be my maddening addiction (which I guess is the nature of addictions. See: “Scandal,” “House of Cards,” “Game of Thrones,” marriage).


Continue Reading · on March 25, 2014 in Books, family, Kids, marriage, Parenting, pop culture, ranting

why i can’t quit facebook

The other day (okay, last month) I read this piece on the fantabulous Arnebya’s blog (she of the Chipotle story, among others) and read what she had to say about all the various ways we have to “communicate” with each other.  Think about it: we have endless iterations of social media “contact,” from tweeting and pinning to vine-ing; we can google+ (although I don’t know what that really is) and get linkedin; we can email and IM and DM and godknowswhatM. It’s stunning.

Letters, actual mail? Like with envelopes and stamps and stuff? That’s so twentieth century. I don’t write letters any more and no one writes to me, really (yes, I see the causal link there), but I remember how nice it was to open my post-office box at college and see letters. Do any of us get that same little bubbly feeling from an email inbox? Methinks not.

But I’m not going to wax nostalgic in this post. Reading Arnebya’s post made me think about why–despite annoying ads and strange video clips of cats and squirrels and the pesky and constant changes that facebook keeps imposing–I can’t quit facebook or twitter (I tried to quit last year. And it totally worked.  For like an entire hour I was tweet-free).

Here’s the thing: my job demands a lot of computer time. I write, I answer student emails, I put together lecture notes. I’m old enough to remember doing these things without a computer — when I taught high school, back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth, I was still using a DITTO MACHINE.  Brief pause here while those of you of a certain age remember the giddy inhaling of freshly dittoed worksheets.

Anyway. I spend a lot of time starting into the computer under the best of circumstances but since we’ve moved, my screen time has become something akin to an addiction. (And right there is why I don’t let my children read my blog. I spend too much time yapping at them about their own screen time to let them know about my own sickness.)

I have days where I look at the “likes” that other bloggers have on Facebook and wonder how they got so many thousands of people when I can’t even crack a second hundred; or why I too don’t have entire herds of twitter followers; or parsing the analytics on my blog like some kind of twenty-first century soothsayer, hoping that somehow overnight I’ve turned into The Bloggess. I wonder about “monetizing” and “branding” and syndication.

Yes. That would be a lesser-known use of social media: social media as self-flagellating device. How to make yourself feel bad in three easy clicks.


But then I realized the real reason I loves me some social media, and it goes even further back in time, earlier than the use of the ditto machine.


Yep, that’s right: “Romper, bomper, stomper boo. Tell me, tell me, tell me, do. Magic Mirror, tell me today, have all my friends had fun at play?”

That mirror she’s gazing into? That’s social media for me, over here in this half of the world. I look through my little facebook mirror and wait to see what’s happening in the world. Sometimes it’s as if I’m seeing things like those time-lapse photographs from space of the sun moving across the surface of the earth: I see the East Coast talking about their morning routines while the West Coast talks about their after-dinner drinks; the news rumbles in from points in the Mideast while the US sleeps; my brother in LA is going to the gym before work while my sister in NJ picks up her daughter after school. And my magic tweeting mirror offers the paradox of feeling utterly involved in the immediacy of people’s lives, even though I’m nowhere nearby.

There you have it. Social media may not be doing much for me professionally but I am no more capable of putting down my magic mirror of facetwitter than I am of putting my hair in that magnificent, Marie Antoinette-esque beehive.



(Of course, if you’d like to like Mannahattamamma on facebook, I’d be delighted to have you. Romper, bomper, stomper boo…)

Continue Reading · on May 31, 2013 in Abu Dhabi, expat, pop culture, tech life, writing

Facebook Paranoia

Maybe you’ve heard the flapdoodle about Facebook “improving” itself last week?

Facebook changed its layout or interface or whatever they call it.  If you’re a regular facebooker (and hello my name is mannahattamamma; I’m a facebook addict), then you know about this “new and improved” (read: clunky and fucked up) structure: a sidebar that scrolls along listing updates from everyone in the world and your Wall being organized by the gurus at FB into “top story,” “recent story” and “older posts.”

Messages flew across the facebook universe the first days of these “improvements” about how to try and beat the new structure—unclick this, click on that, select the button over there—but Facebook resists tampering.

As a result, my Facebook Wall, which used to update posts in a reassuringly chronological list, now pays no attention to the clock or any other visible organizing principle. I get posts from friends on the West Coast twelve hours behind me appearing ahead of posts from people here in Abu Dhabi; posts from days ago suddenly being listed as “top stories” while a post from my sister about new shoes (the stuff that really matters, dammit) gets shuffled four screens away.

If you try to un-top a “top story” you get a message from your pals at Facebook apologizing and saying that they’ll “try” not list stories like that at the top any more.  What’s with the “try” business? Haven’t they been listening to Yoda? Try not, Silicon Slicksters, do only.   The whole Facebook thing is algorithms, right? How can an algorithm “try?”

Unless—cue paranoid music here—there really are FB minions watching over our posts.  In that case, it seems only a matter of time before FB starts to editorialize.

I can just imagine it:  “Here’s another crappy post from your grumpy uncle; here are the disgruntled political posts; these are the posts from your over-sexed colleague at work; we’ve left off all the posts about food until you lose five pounds, fat-ass; we know you don’t like the kute kitten videos but we think you need cheering up, so here they are; here are some of the cartoons and random snapshots that your friends post but only a few because some of those photos were just stupid.”

And then we’ll start getting little pop-up windows asking us “do you really want to say that?” or “Probably you should leave that guy alone now,” or “don’t you think seven posts in a row about your new diet is plenty?” or “remember nothing on the internet ever dies and no one really wants to see you naked” (if only Anthony Wiener’s weenie had gotten that message).

It’s coming. I’m telling you.  Facebook: your new electronic mother.

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Continue Reading · on September 29, 2011 in tech life

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