Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Baby Boomers - What NOT to Post on Social Media

     There’ve been many articles written about what not to post on social media, specifically what you shouldn’t share on Facebook. It seems that common sense isn’t all that common when it comes to socializing over the internet.  Here are some items often recommended NOT to post:

  • Your birthdate, including the year.   Identity thieves love this.
  • Telling everyone when you’re leaving town, or posting the locations (usually restaurants) that you’re visiting.  This just begs “come rob me.”  
  • Pictures from your employer’s New Year’s Eve party with your arm around the boss’s wife. Your next performance review may not go well.
  • Voicing support of your brother’s decision to file for divorce, only to find out the next day that they’ve made up.  Family dinner at mom’s next weekend should be interesting.
  • Pictures of your food.  Everyone, please stop this! 
  • Photos of you glassy-eyed at the receiving end of a beer bong.  And you wonder why the job interviews have dried up.
With all this advice already out there, what makes me think I have anything to add? Well, most of these articles have been written with the upwardly mobile, younger generations in mind, not giving full consideration to folks like me--retired baby boomers. I’ve discovered through personal experience and through the mistakes of others my age that there are things that just shouldn’t be posted by those over 60, or by anyone for that matter.   Here are just a few:

  • Don’t post any photo of you in a swimming suit.  Sucking in your gut doesn’t hide man boobs or saddlebags, and no one wants to see this, not even your spouse.
  • Don’t “like” or comment on photos of your nieces or nephews at college parties with their friends.  This is creepy, borderline voyeurism, and will lead to a series of “unfriends.”   
  • Don’t tell everyone the details of your hernia surgery or any other senior rite-of-passage procedure.  No one cares what you’re now able to lift.
  • Don’t relive the past again, again, and again.  By now, those who cared to know that you campaigned for Walter Mondale already know.
  • Never, never, never mention sex--even in passing comments. I don’t care if every Saturday night you and your partner warm up body oils and drag out your dog-eared copies of the Kama Sutra handbook; no one wants these images haunting their minds.   
Unfortunately, my advice will not likely change the social media behavior of most baby boomers.  Frankly, even I don’t adhere to all of it.  It seems one of the by-products of aging is that your inhibitions dissipate.  The filter from mind to mouth (or to keyboard in this case) becomes very porous. Who hasn’t overheard older patrons in the Walmart checkout line expressing their opinions on topics that would best be discussed in the privacy of their home (or not at all). 
What older folks have always felt free to say in public they now post on social media.  It’s a fairly new phenomenon, and I suspect it will only get worse. Today’s boomers are the first senior citizens to use social media.  Facebook, Twitter, and other internet outlets have given us all the opportunity to make fools of ourselves on a daily basis.   

Well, I gotta run now.  My wife just showed me the most adorable photo of our dog sleeping on the sofa with her paws over her eyes.  I gotta get this Tweeted out right away.  

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