“How can I be friends on Facebook with someone I do not know?” That is the question my mother-in-law posed to me. Last August when my daughter went to college, my mother-in-law wanted to join Facebook so she could see all of my daughter Nora’s photos. She had heard from family members that they were seeing Nora’s photos on the internet. We opened her an email account and one password later, she was on Facebook. I asked her if she wanted me to invite people to be her friends, other than Nora and me, and she said, “I don’t want people knowing my business.” As soon as she joined, she began getting invitations from “friends.” We accepted those invitations. I told her she knew these people. (fyi: we are from the same hometown, and I know who she knows or just about or at least I thought we knew the same people).
Sometime later she wanted to get back on Facebook and got a real live friend to help her. She later told my husband she is friends with someone she does not know. I told my husband that she knows the person but she doesn’t recognize her since it’s probably been thirty years since she’s seen her. I asked my husband if we should go into her Facebook page and “unfriend” that person. He said no.
Over Easter, my daughter visited her grandparents, and she and my mother-in-law got on Facebook, looking at the photos on her page. She told my daughter she was friends with someone she did not know. My daughter thought it was funny that her grandmother’s one obsession was this friend she did not know. I asked my daughter if we should “unfriend” this person. My daughter said that would take all the fun out of my mother-in-law being on Facebook. I thought maybe it wasn’t good to be friends with someone you think you do not know.
A week later, I got a call from my mother-in-law. She was trying to get on Facebook, and it was no longer there. I asked my daughter if she knew why her grandmother didn’t have Facebook anymore. She said, “She asked me to ‘make it go away’ and I did.” She logged her out, and Facebook was no longer on her toolbar — or at least that’s what I think happened. Perhaps my mother-in-law subconsciously does not want to use Facebook because she’s friends with someone she does not know.
Fast forward three months. My mother-in-law called and wanted to know if she had an email address. She was trying to get on Facebook and they were asking for her email address and her age. Now I’m really confused — “make it go away” indeed!