We thought it would be pretty funny to ask our parents about what they think of our blogging and/or social media presence— Leah’s dad poops his pants and convinces her that she’ll never get a job if she says the word “shit” once, in any post, ever. Her mom is obsessed with her Facebook. Neither have seen her Twitter, and she intends on keeping it that way. On the other hand, Myles’s lovely mom has a Twitter that’s like 10x better than either of ours.
We were interested, so we poked around NYU Local for some other staffers to ask their moms and dads, “What do you think of my internet presence?”
My mom once said to me, “If you keep tweeting about your sex life, I’m going to start tweeting about mine,” which was pretty horrifying. And also bizarre, because I definitely don’t tweet about my sex life.
I swear! I really don’t!
“You should just get a job at Newsweek. I heard they’re hiring.” – my dad repeatedly since 2008
“I mean, you should at least take the LSAT, just for shits.” – my dad repeatedly since 2008
“Wait, you write for the paper?”
“No, no. We’re online.”
“Oh, it’s the school’s online newspaper.”
“No, we’re independent of NYU.”
“Do you get paid?”
Wash, rinse, repeat every six months.
My parents have zero clue what a blog is.
My mom always says “I don’t mind your foul language, as long as its used strategically. But sometimes there’s subject matter I wish I hadn’t seen.” That and “oh, could this unpaid internship lead to a future job?” Paid writing jobs? Momma, please!
My grandparents are super right-wing and my parents want to shelter them from my sometimes-inflammatory liberal bias, so they just tell them that I write about music they wouldn’t “get.”
I tried to explain Instagram to my dad, who said, “Oh, so when you post a photo you’re doing a twitter?”
He also refused to be photographed for Instagram because “the picture might get too many likes and you’ll break the system.”
(He is a professional computer programmer.)
My parents don’t care, but my grandpa is fairly observant. “Your Facebook tells me you’re partying too much,” he says every time I see him.
But I kindly rebute this with, “My friends and I just don’t take photos of us studying; Facebook shows a biased skew of my activities.”
Their reactions vary. They will be super excited and supportive, sharing my posts on NYULocal or when I write for the Paper Magazine blog, but then my mom ends up showing something I wrote about Cakes Da Killa to my grandmother and when they realize the song I was covering is about anal sex I will get a call. Note that my mother’s response to that was,”Oh well, it’s fine. Anal sex has been around forever, I guess.”
Basically my dad has no idea what I do social media-wise, but my mom is on it. She has a Foursquare, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc. She follows me on every platform, knows when I am hungover, and tells me my JonBenet Rasmey jokes are inappropriate.
My mom and dad never really speak to me about it, but my sister has reported that my mom keeps my Twitter up on her iPad and constantly refreshes my feed. And one time I was at a concert and my dad asked me, “How’s David Byrne?” and I still have no idea how he knew.
My dad wonders why I don’t have pictures of myself in coffee shops reading Kierkegaard, and when he figures out how to go through my pictures, he’s disappointed at “what I’ve become.”
Meanwhile, Momma, who follows me on Twitter, is concerned that checking into places on Foursquare will enable people to find/stalk/hurt me. So she gave me a rape whistle and keychain LED light.
“It’s not good when your aunts see pictures of you with boys at “hookah” bars. Is that what you do all the time? It’s like you’re… You know… Mhm. They don’t know the story! What if my friends see all that?”
Plus there’s the typical concern that employers will see I party and not hire me.
“Twitter is stupid. I don’t need everyone to know when I’m sittin’ on the toilet!” My dad’s oft expressed, and misinformed, opinion of Twitter (I wish I could somehow capture the Southern drawl via email. It makes it so much better!).
At the beginning of the year, my mom sent me an email with my very first post for Local copy/pasted into the email body with her criticisms inserted in red. The email began ”Ok, pretty good stuff, but as your mother I have a few things to say off-line. Are you an art critic or just an art reporter? Love Mom”
Her “off-line” comments were:
“Oh come on, show some originality”
“This sounds a little, um, bigoted?”
“Masturbate? We are trying way too hard here!”
“See masturbate comment above.”
This just in from daddy Zweig, direct copy-paste:
“Very please with your social media skills. However my Internet is down again and since we upgraded to Windows 7 I keep having to shutdown the computer. Very frustrating Mr. Ben. I do read all of your local articles but I understand none of it. I to get your Facebook but have no clue about any Twitter account.”
The only time my parents ever said anything about my NYU Local shenanigans was when I discovered the ridiculous system of “sorry you have to pay the university for credit to take an unpaid internship.” They were afraid I was going to write a post and every employer would see it, and put me in their massive Google Docs spreadsheet of “People We Will Never Hire.”
Also, that was the day where I spoke to my friend from Stern about internships, and she thought I was kind of nuts for complaining – until I told her that the internship is not an assumption of impending employment in the writing-y fields. Then she thought I was completely nuts for going into writing at all. Uh oh, I sense a rant; time to go to lunch.