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Some sorely missing etiquette

POSTED: June 28, 2017 1:00 a.m.

Mama has started following in Granny's previous footsteps of blaming technology for most of our current woes.

Maybe she's right.

She told me one day she thought the whole reason her soap operas were off the air was because of Facebook.

"I think that was what Granny said a few years ago," I reminded her.

"Perhaps," she agreed. "But it's true. There's so much bickering and fighting on your computer, no one wants to see make believe people fuss and fight. There's more scandals online nowadays."

With better scripts too, I thought to myself.

"And people tell everything on there," she continued. "They have absolutely no shame!"

For someone who hadn't been on a computer in the last decade, she had a pretty good gist of how Facebook worked.

To add to her already sullied opinion of the platform, I decided to tell her some other horrible things.

"Remember how we used to get chain letters in the mail?" I asked.

She did. If Mama saw an envelope with no return address, it would send her in a panic. She worried if she didn't send the people in the letter whatever was requested, she would receive a plague of locusts upon her.

"First of all, that's the biggest bunch of nonsense I have ever heard," Granny would declare, although she didn't call it nonsense. Thankfully, Granny could figure out who the unnamed sender was, just from the handwriting on the envelope and put a stop to it with a phone call.

"You send another one of those stupid chain letters to my house, and ain't no chain letter gonna help you when I find you."
Granny took her mail quite seriously and didn't think those letters deserved to share mailbox space with her Ladies Home Journal.

Mama remembered those horrible postal violations well.

"Now, instead of chain letters you get in the mail, you get some GIF with bright shiny glitter hearts telling you to forward it to 30 of your closest friends within 30 minutes so you can have a lottery win this week or to make sure you get into Heaven?"

Mama thought about this far longer than she really should have. "Did you send it?"

"No. You always say the lottery is a game of chance and I'm sure there's better reasons why I may be denied entry in the pearly gates besides I didn't send that silly message to 30 other people."

Mama wasn't sure she approved of my logic but she was intrigued by the newfound method of online chain mail.

"I can't believe the FCC allows this to happen," she muttered softly. "Granny told someone once she was reporting them to the FBI because they were committing a federal offense by sending us a chain letter. And now that I think of it, she may have."

"And you want to know something even worse?" I asked.

Mama wasn't sure it could get worse than a flashing glitter image.

"What's the one thing you always hated to have to go to?" I asked.

"You mean besides outside?" she asked, trying to figure out what I could possibly be meaning.
"Worse than outside." She still wasn't sure, so I had to tell her.

"You know those home parties for different things? Now people do those online and create a group or event for them on Facebook."

Mama thought about this. "That doesn't sound so bad to me; at least then you don't have to leave your home if you don't want to. You could just see the stuff and not have to worry about if you spill your coffee down the front of your blouse or not."

Of course, Mama would try to find some positive out of it. She probably was thinking how she needed a computer and a Facebook just so she could order a bunch of stuff she didn't need.
"True. But, some people create the group and then add you in there without asking you first - so it is like you are being forced into a fake party without your permission!"
"What!" she exclaimed. "That's rude!"

I assured her it was even ruder than she imagined because it was usually people you never talked to until they decided they wanted to win some free hostess gift or get rewarded for your purchase and put you in their party group.

"That's really tacky," she said. "You would think there would be some sort of rules on there. Does no one follow any kind of social graces anymore?"

Apparently not. If they did, they sure aren't exercising it on Facebook.

"Maybe you should create some rules or Facebook etiquette?" Mama suggested. "Do you think that would help people learn some boundaries?"

I highly doubted it. "First of all, you would have to reach the people that need it the most. I don't know how I'd start on that."

Mama, a slow giggle growing in her throat, said, "Why don't you start a group about Facebook Etiquette and add them to it?"

It wasn't a bad idea but somehow I thought the effect would be sorely lost on those who needed it the most.

Sudie Crouch is an award winning humor columnist and author of the novel, "The Dahlman Files: A Tony Dahlman Paranormal Mystery."

 

 

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