I'm reading
Your mum's better at Facebook than you
Pass it on
Pass it on
I'm reading
Your mum's better at Facebook than you
Pass it on
Pass it on
I'm reading
Your mum's better at Facebook than you
Pass it on
Pass it on
Articles
12 February 2015

Your mum's better at Facebook than you

While I try to perfect my internet persona, my mum is out there with her heart on her sleeve.

Written by Sofija Stefanovic

Behind extraordinary ideas, there are extraordinary people. Dumbo Feather is a magazine about these people.

There is a growing community of people on social media. You might have seen them on Facebook. Even though they are not all women, nor are they all mothers, most of them fall into these categories so for the purposes of brevity I will refer to them as Facebook Mums (FMs).

My friend and I recently posted a photo of us drunk in a bar. Seconds later, both our mothers, her uncle and my mum’s work friend liked it. These people are typical FMs. FMs don’t care about the etiquette of social media, and maybe they’re onto something.

My mother, like many FMs, is in her 60s. She’s on Facebook all the time and is not proficient at using the site. She has written private messages to me (in Serbian) on other people’s Facebook walls and is a vocal fan of wedding photos of people she’s never met.

“But I do like the baby!” says my mother when I admonish her about liking every single photo of my ex’s brother’s child. “Why are you even friends with Paul?” I ask (she barely knows the man whose kid she is obsessed with). She admits that she “was led to the friendship page” after snooping through my profile and viewing my friends’ pages.

Don’t get me wrong. I, too, will examine photos of people I hardly know. I just don’t leave evidence. I will privately judge people as I look through their statuses and spy on their children. I just won’t break the etiquette by letting them know I’m lurking.

I suggest she should be less vocal in her ‘likes’. “Don’t give yourself away,” I suggest. “But why?” she asks, and I’m not sure what to say. Because she’s right. If she genuinely likes something, why can’t she say it?

And that’s the thing. FMs are just as earnest, excited and curious about you and your friends on social media as they would be in real life (if you gave them the opportunity to observe everything you ever did).

Unlike FMs, I am often insincere on social media. I’m concerned about how people perceive me and do my best to maintain a persona. I untag myself from unflattering photos. I’m obsessed with social media clichés, those phrases that are novel for a while and become meaningless with overuse (“This guy!”, “What even is…”, “moar”, “wut”). I will wake up in the middle of the night to delete a tweet where I may have stepped over the line from idiosyncrasy to conformity.

While I try to perfect my internet persona, attempting to be funny and smart, making my life seem more interesting than it is, my mum and other FMs are out there with their hearts on their sleeve. I’ll wake up to a photo of pre-pubescent me in a bath with my sister – vaginas uncensored – “my lovely girls!” my mum will say. A one-night stand from years ago will write something flirty on my wall, only to receive a “lol!” from my mum.

Maybe instead of sneaking around, spying on others and editing and re-editing our comments, we should take a leaf out of an FM’s book. Social media isn’t only about your image, I say to myself as I observe yet another unflattering photo of teenage me, chubby and wearing genie pants. My mum is giving people an insight into the real me, the me I would rather obliterate in favour of filtered, soft-focused shots I’ve curated.

Maybe the openness FMs show on social media is something we, the cynics, are in need of. Unedited and raw, FMs are there to remind us who we really are.

Sofija Stefanovic

Sofija is a Dumbo Feather contributor who’s interviewed the likes of Julian BurnsideAkram Khan and Abigail Disney. She lives in New York. She is writing a memoir called Miss ex-Yugoslavia (Penguin, 2018). She also hosts the literary salon Women of Letters in New York City.

Feature image supplied by Sofija Stefanovic

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