As a mum of 2 teenage boys (one aged 17 and the other aged 13) I often find myself having to be pretty thick-skinned. This is never more so than when it comes to social media. But having recently been blocked by my eldest for being “a total cringe” I couldn’t help but wonder: Am I having a social media midlife crisis?
It’s not new for the boys to look on in horror when I attempt to take a Snapchat selfie (or any selfie come to think of it) and I’m quite used to seeing what I can only describe as ‘pain’ etched on their faces when they realise I’ve posted another pub or restaurant ‘check in’ along with said photo of my meal or cocktail of choice. But just recently this got me questioning my social media habits: Is it completely embarrassing to use a Snapchat filtered selfie over the age of 40? Have I become a food bore, with relentless posts of family dinners featuring carefully positioned Le Creuset pots and champagne flutes? And, Is Facebook only for ‘old people’ like me?
The answer to each of these is yes – possibly?
Both of my sons completely question the use and value of Facebook. Neither of them use it – but they fully agree, it’s not for them. In their opinion Facebook is for the ‘older generation’ or ‘those with families’. They don’t want to be on the same network as their middle aged mum and her friends whose fascination for sharing baby pics appears relentless. To them avoiding Facebook is almost a necessity. So I get it – I really do. No Facebook means no potentially embarrassing photos to explain away, but sadly it also means that I don’t get a snapshot into their lives out with the house either.
I fully admit to having over posted in the past with photos of home cooked meals, dog walks and holiday snaps and don’t really see the harm in it all. I personally enjoy seeing other people’s family photos, personal achievement’s, pet pics, and occasional food or fitness journey posts. But, I also understand that like anything there is a happy medium. The endless self-obsessed manipulated filtered selfies, the mundane Sunday car wash posts of gleaming £40k+ cars (yawn) and the carefully selected snapshots of seemingly perfect lives can become tiresome, even for my generation!
So, am I using the medium of social media to ‘combat a loss of self-confidence and feelings of anxiety and disappointment in early middle age’? Umm – no I don’t think I am.
Let’s face it, most teenagers don’t like the thought of their parents posting on Instagram or Facebook but then most teenagers don’t like the thought of their parents tipsy on cocktails or hitting the dance either. Just because we’re over 40 it doesn’t mean that we are having a crisis if we want to document and share something. So whilst I understand why my boys have blocked me, and why too much self-promotion can be a drag, I am going to continue with the selfies and the baby pics and for now at least, I’m also going to continue with Facebook, an app that suits me just fine.