An addicted insider’s account of our real lives in the era of the realtime, social web.

Confession #35: You’re Boring Your Grandmother

I’ve known Jewish grandmothers whose outgoing voicemail messages go something like this: “You never bother to call, so why should I expect you to leave a message?”

The other night, I was sitting next to one such sharp-witted, Jewish grandmother in her mid-80s. When I mentioned that I write about the intersection of technology and society (I never miss an opportunity for a few new pageviews), she immediately interrupted me and said:

“I hate Facebook. All of my kids and grandkids telling me these mindless things they’re doing. Why would I care what they’re doing every minute? But I keep using it because I don’t want to miss anything important.”

Facebook can be so irritating that it makes a Jewish grandmother feel like she’s hearing from her kids and grandkids too much. That is the most amazing statement uttered by a Jew since my Uncle Mordecai sat down at Carnegie Deli and said to the waiter, “Just give me a side salad.”

But there’s also the operant conditioning angle. Even someone who has likely spent a lifetime ignoring such newfangled meshugas with a throat-clearing wave of the hand can’t quite pull herself away from the promise of the occasional gem that bobs to the surface in a sea of garbage.

The social, realtime web has exploded. Facebook has more than 400 million registered kibitzers who share 60 million status updates a day, and Twitter just surpassed 50 million tweets per day. Those numbers are awe-inspiring for anyone who works, lives and breathes the web. But maybe we’re a little better off if we drop things to, say, 20 million daily tweets and add a layer of editing to our Facebook status updates.

There’s an old Yiddish saying: Words should be weighed, not counted.

That roughly translates as: Oy Vey, enough with the Farmville.

You’re the one who got your Grandmother to sign up for Facebook. At least give Bubbie a nice family photo or a link to a decent story in Haaretz every now and then.

Here’s one more Yiddish saying to keep in mind each time you’re about to update your status:

All is not butter that comes from a cow.


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My name is Dave Pell, internet superhero. This blog provides an addicted insider's account of what's happening to us in the era of the realtime, social web. You can read more about the site, grab the rss feed, follow me on twitter, join the Facebook page, or get email updates.