Bernie's Excellent Adventure
The Social Security Sellout and an Interview

Crabby Old Lady's New Facebook Rant

In the greater scheme of things - such as what Monday's test vote in the Senate portends for the future of Social Security - Facebook doesn't matter and Crabby Old Lady feels slightly foolish bringing it up right now.

Nevertheless, it is an irritation, a burr in one's saddle, a pebble in the shoe of life that refuses to be ignored, leeching time and attention from more useful pursuits.

Those who have a distaste for Facebook are often made to feel like hopeless Luddites by the "cool kids" who are willing to kick non-users to the curb in their mad rush to share with the world every jot and tittle of their lives.

“Leave me a message on my wall,” say “friends” when Crabby Old Lady complains they haven't responded to an emailed question. “I hardly ever check my inbox nowadays,” they tell her with an barely concealed whiff of derision at her failure to join the mob.

For various purposes, Crabby has six or seven, long-standing email addresses, including a couple of aliases to ensure privacy when she wants it, and she spent a good deal of effort a long time ago setting them up so that messages from all arrive in the same inbox on her computer.

Unless Crabby doesn't want to be disturbed for a period of time, that program, Mozilla Thunderbird, remains open all day where she can check messages from those sources with one click. It is an efficient system that allows her to keep all addresses, archived messages and even rss subscriptions in one place organized by folders, color coding and useful icons.

Curious about it when Facebook was first becoming a phenomenon, Crabby Old Lady signed up for an account. Unable to suss out any reason to use the site, she forgot about it or, rather, tried.

Soon, friend requests began arriving, along with something called “pokes," “gifts” of beer and flowers about which she had (and still has) no idea what to do, and invitations to join groups.

Even while despising Facebook's distortion of the meaning of the word, it seems curmudgeonly not to accept someone's request to be her “friend,” so Crabby presses “accept” when they arrive. She ignores everything else.

That is, she attempts to ignore them because one dirty, little secret about Facebook whose baby billionaire CEO wants it to be everything to everybody including email, is that it announces every event related to Crabby by – wait for it – email.

And, apparently, anyone can add other Facebook members to groups without consent. Saturday morning, Crabby's email inbox was spammed with 10 or 12 messages from someone she never heard of welcoming her to a new Facebook group and following up with nattering ruminations on how the group should or should not operate.

Let Crabby Old Lady give you – whoever you are - a clue about that: SHE DOESN'T CARE. YOU ARE BEING RUDE. GET OUT OF CRABBY'S INBOX.

Later, someone else caught in this brain dump of unwanted information told Crabby that it may all be spam and later still, the “perpetrator” emailed (neither of thes messages, you will note, via all-things-to-all-people Facebook) to apologize; she had been led to believe that adding names sent those people an invitation only. Which proves several of Crabby's abundant number of objections to Facebook:

It is a source of unending crap in her inbox.

It will send as much crap as possible to as many people as possible whether one intends to or not.

It is designed to make it as hard as possible to understand.

Even smart, interesting people Crabby knows turn stupid on Facebook blasting messages of minutiae all day.

Then there are Facebook's well-publicized invasions of privacy. Remember the one in which Facebook, without permission, posted the retail purchases members had made? Crabby doesn't follow Facebook stuff closely, but she seems to recall that it recently inaugurated a location finder that tells friends where members are at any given moment.

Call Crabby old-fashioned all you want, but she doesn't care when you're at the supermarket or if it is raining and she's pretty sure all but the hardest-core Facebook users don't care about her wanderings and weather either. What kind of fevered brain even thinks up this stuff.

What makes these invasions most insidious is that they are implemented unannounced requiring disinterested or insulted members to opt out which Facebook, again, makes as difficult as possible. An example:

Also on Saturday morning, Chris Pirillo's Lockergnome newsletter related a new attack on Facebook members' privacy. Suddenly, Mark Zuckerberg's brainchild is posting members' comments, even those made on closed, passworded pages, on the commenters' public walls. Let Chris explain:

[Kat's] Mom has very few friends on Facebook for a reason and her page is as locked down and secure as it can be. She doesn’t wish to share her information with anyone.

Kat, however, does not have her Wall and information locked down. She is very social, due to the type of work we do. Imagine how upset her very private mom is going to be if the things Kat writes on her Wall start showing up for all of you to read?

No kidding.

Some time ago, the blog platform Crabby uses, Typepad, made it easy to connect her blogs with Facebook so that when a story is published here, it is posted at the same time to Facebook (and to Twitter, but don't make Crabby go there). She did so for whomever might want to read Time Goes By and The Elder Storytelling Place that way but only because it was a simple setup and requires zero maintenance. If it ever breaks, it will stay that way.

A few readers have suggested that Crabby create something called a fan page on Facebook for Time Goes By. What? A “wall” isn't enough? And how much time would it cost Crabby to keep it up? Don't answer. She has no interest and finds the thought of having "fans" (an abbreviation, for anyone who has forgotten, of fanatics - something more suitable to teenage singers wearing too few clothes) embarrassing.

Against many odds, Crabby tries to keep her life simple and computers themselves are complex enough. Programs go wonky. There are constant update notices for everything on her hard drive. Even with the strongest virus protection, some sneak through. And it takes daily tinkering to keep email spam at bay. Last week, her two-month-old mouse died.

One computer, one email program and two blogs are enough for Crabby Old Lady's communication needs; there are a zillion more compelling things in life than Facebook.

If you like Facebook, fine. Crabby makes the blogs available for you there. But don't ask her to do anything else with it.

All of the above notwithstanding, at the request of several Time Goes By readers over many months Crabby, this week, implemented the Facebook "Like" button at the bottom of each blog entry. It is a test. If readers don't use it, it will be removed.

(PS: If you cannot resist tutoring Crabby Old Lady the intricacies of Facebook functions in the comments below – please reconsider.)

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Rebecca Gordon: Torture and a Trip to the Emergency Room


What kind of fevered brain even thinks up this stuff.

You realise, I'm sure, that people spoke exactly this way about blogs for quite some time. It seems somewhat disappointing that Crabby is so negative about other people who are enjoying an exciting communication resource rather than simply opting out.

FB may be frustrating at times, but it connects me to old and new friends I've never met in person in a way that blogs and email never could--and that's a good thing. As for ridding your Inbox of spam, consider a gmail address. It can be configured to go your Inbox, but filters out 99.9% of spam before it ever lands on your computer with a virus.

I prefer the simplicity of logging onto a blog. To each his own.

Oh, I could have written this! (That is, if I could write like you do.) Even my 34 y.o. son has said that on Facebook he has come to not like people that he thought he liked. I can, however, see its usefulness in some sense, as well as its potential for changing the way people communicate. That said, I don't go there very much and have turned off ALL email notifications, including "friend" requests which I universally ignore. It is useful to see photos of the grandchildren. I believe that people do not reveal their true selves on Facebook most of the time but they reveal themselves in some edited fashion that sometimes seems rather sad and desperate.

Dear go to Facebook, and to your settings...what ever they are called there, and uncheck the box that will deliver things to your inbox.

I discovered that you may have to uncheck several boxes. I left one still checked....the one that tells me if someone has left me a note. Gee, I have this gloriously empty-from-Facebook-crap inbox now.

I can keep up with my grandkids, and I can ignore the rest. Ignoring fits me to a tee. I blog, I do little email now....but confess to am email holiday letter this year that saved my hands and eyes, and I refuse to do twitter. But the grandkids are on Facebook, so I am on Facebook. Darn it.

I am satisfied with Facebook for now but I limited the number of people I have there to friends or family and I do not do any games or extra features there. I use it purely to share photos of family with people I trust. I do read it but found you can hide people and their posts. You can also limit what facebook will email to you and I took advantage of that too as I get quite enough emails without it telling me each time something changed there. I would not even think of getting a facebook email as they have had too many privacy failures for me to trust this would be exempt.

I signed up for FB the same way you did, Ronni. I never go there unless I get an email telling me that someone left a comment on my wall. I sometimes send interesting articles to my FB account to increase readership of them. Otherwise, it is just a background thingy on my computer.

Right now I am having trouble keeping up with my email and do not have time to read the blogs I enjoy. Certainly, I do not have time for one more thing to do on my PC.

Thank you Crabby! Yes, I know facebook can be used for good - it can be a great way to reconnect and keep in touch with friends and family - but ... . I also have very intelligent friends, those who far surpassed me in our doctoral program, who have been reduced to posting on their facebook wall the fact that they are making breakfast. I don't care - I have more important things going on in my life than to worry about whether or not you are cooking breakfast. If you have enough time to cook breakfast and post it on facebook, it's time to get a life.

And BTW, I'm actually a geek.

Same experience. Like you, that seething maw of minutia has no attraction for me. But I set up my blog to post to my "wall" because I have people I am fond of who live at FB, so if they want to know what I'm up to, they can.

Crabby Old Lady! FB to me is a wonderful bouquet of people, events, art, perspectives, research and news I would not otherwise read elsewhere. I ignore what I am not interested in, have had no problem with spam Hallelujah--you don't need to post on FB at all to retain your readers if it makes you too crabby, Crabby. We will just access your blog directly. Hope you have a merry holiday in spite of terrible political mess. I enjoyed meeting you at the elder blogger gathering you hosted so generously.

Your blogger friends have given you the work-arounds. It is somewhat like the telephone. My grandmother could not be bothered and yet, she lost contact with her grandchildren over time.

Sorry about your mouse.

I don't have any tricks to share. I did join,as I but then dropped it the first time I got spam. I eventually rejoined using a phony name, just so I can follow a few family members every year or so.
But personally, I think it sucks. IMHO it is, like many of today's new net apps, a solution looking for a problem.

Bwahaha - this post has 5 LIKES on FB now....

I don't like FB, but in order to see grandkids photos and "keep up" with family, I am sort of forced into using it.

Well I like Facebook. For me its turned out to be a way to stay in regular touch with some of the more "extended" members of my family, as well as reconnecting with some "long-lost" friends. But you have to have a network of FB friends that you care about to get any benefit from it. Otherwise you may as well drop it. And of course you should turn off the email notifications.

I cancelled my Facebook because I found it too intrusive. Do you know how hard that is? AND I still get spam inviting me to be someone's friend (and I report it as spam)which makes me want to sue Mark Zuckerberg for denying me the right to be permanently and completely removed. I think Twitter is a waste of time, too. My cell phone is for (wonder of wonders!) getting calls if I'm on the road and the free long distance sonce my kids live out of state.

I have enough trouble keeping up with my blog, and reading everything my friends' blogs.

Here's a video I posted on my blog about Facebook that says it well:

I got that you don't like FB at the 1st paragraph. It was unnecessary to belabor the point. Just don't open it or respond to messages.

I've embraced FB. I have loads of young rellies and would not normally be privy to their lives as they live in other far distant lands. I love the pics and love the fact that my whole outport is on it and post historical photos and memories. I think my whole province of Newfoundland is on FB. showers are posted, events are posted. It is only as personal as you let it.
And I also play Lexulous a word game, with friends throughout the world and we can chat in the side panel.
And notifications are switched off.
I truly love it.

bkj - Who's crabby now?

I don't exactly love Facebook, but it allows me to keep up with my many grandchildren, siblings and cousins and that's something good I think. I have my setting fixed so only my friends can see things. Dianne


The kids need me to be on FB for photos and my long-lost hs friends and I found one another for our 40th reunion, but I am honestly quite bored with it most of the time.

On the other hand, I love Wordscraper - I've made friends there just like I have in the blogosphere.

Oh, the kids say it is not rude to "ignore".. it's "just what you do."

I love Crabby Old Lady :)

I have Facebook for those of my friends and acquaintances who must use it, but I do not read my Wall or other people's Walls routinely. That way lies madness, not to mention hours of lost time in a sludge of minutiae. Even less than I need to see what someone ate for breakfast, do I need to see their latest exploit in some game. And as sure as the sun rises, if I block one game, soon there will be another one. It is maddening.

If I want to reach someone who is a die-hard Facebook user and seldom reads their email (of which I know only one or two), I send them a message via Facebook's inbox/messaging (email, in other words), not their wall. It is easier and does not splash whatever-it-was all over the public view.

I hope you will reconsider the "like" button. I like Time Goes By and many many of your posts, but I do not like that button. It creates (small) privacy issues for users who never even click it. More at:

Crab on, my dear! FB mostly makes me crazy, but I have young friends who communicate no other way.

Keep it simple.

Crabby I so agree! Like so much technology, people do it because...they can. I did the same as Steve Kemp by joining with a fake name (and all communication options shut down) to look at a few relatives' and friends pages. All but one has stopped posting there. Yet we all share much by other ways.

FB is a waste of time and a bore. I have one niece at a high level in the software industry who posts about her charitable work. It has a point and saves her the trouble of a separate website. She puts nothing personal there.

I have been a web developer since 1997 and have generally been an early adopter of most new internet technologies/programs to keep abreast in my field. Not so with facebook. While I appreciate the many reasons millions have flocked to it, I don't trust a business to have as much information as this business has and act ethically, especially with the privacy issues that keep rearing their ugly heads. Each little breach is met by Zuckerberg throwing his hands in the air and saying "Our bad", we'll fix that right up. And then the next week, another "little" privacy concern pushes the envelope again. You can't tell me they don't know full well what they are doing when they push the privacy limits and then try to play dumb.

I don't trust this man, who has absolutely no oversight and apparently no ethical grounding, but way too much power. The amount of personal information facebook already has access to is astounding and nobody really knows what they are doing with it, but you can bet they're monetizing it as fast as they can and constantly figuring out more ways to get more people dependent and beholden to them - as we've seen with the latest email scheme.

How is a 26 YO worth almost $7 billion with only a social networking site - not an operating system or something else he can actually sell? Well, he's selling something in a big way and I don't trust something that big with no oversight or regulation.

I think Zuckerberg was fortunate to have hit upon an idea that has hooked millions of people - and I'm all for the free enterprise system. But they've already proved that they don't act ethically. I prefer not to play into that.

PS...for an interesting read, look up "facebook criticism" on wikipedia.

The cool kids have already moved on from FB to Twitter!

Sounds like I've had a different experience. I've connected with people I knew peripherally and reconnected with old friends. I appreciate the absence of flaming comments (at least in my FB world), too. Mostly I comment, post a music video almost every day, or put something creative on my Wall.

Yeah, you think facebook is bad (and I can tell you don't; it just gets annoying sometimes) what about all those people, young people mostly, who have a GPS glued to their forehead? To understand the problem see "It's a Strange, New GPS World" at Sightings at 60.

Facebook can be a drag at times, as it is a huge social networking site, with dozens of applications, games, and other meaningless things that I would not use, but others do use and enjoy. Several of my friends have over a thousand friends on their Facebook page, and I know there is no way in the world that they can know all those people personally.

Setting FB the way I wanted it to work for me, took me time, as the help section has much to be desired, and can be very confusing as well. Spam was one of my biggest concerns, as well as privacy issues, and identity theft with to much information available on my profile page, such as date of birth, email address, phone numbers, etc. And then of course, the notifications of join me in Farm Town, Farmville, Yoville, etc.brought tons of notifications that I needed to weed through, just to get to the things that might be of interest to me. A friend of mine on FB tickled me when he said, "If I had a dime for every Farm Town request I got, then I would be able to buy a real farm."

Anyway, after spending several hours, (over several days) I figured out how to stop the majority of the things that haunted me with FB.
If I get invitations for games, beer, kisses, hugs, butterflies, you are the most popular and to see how well your score is with others, personality, and the list can go on and on, I immediately now block the applications, as it gives me this choice. I almost felt guilty about it in the beginning, as I thought I might hurt someone's feelings, but they really do not get the outcome that I now have this blocked. I also changed my settings to where I do not get an email every time someone comments on anything I reply to, or if I get a message within my FB, or if I state something on my FB. If I go to FB, this is all available to me anyway, so there is no need to fill my email up with this stuff, which is not spam, but stuff that I really do not need in my email folder, as it is on my FB as well, therefore redundant.

I also keep my friends on FB to a minimum. 95% of the people on my friends list consist of friends that I have acquire via long standing internet friends, high school and college friends, and family members, and then a few that have asked that I become friends with them, which I ask them why, if they do not tell me in a note of why they requested my friendship. I have asked people to be my friends as well, and when I do, there is a reason why. We have something in common (this usually has to do with my passion of elders and their care) and would like to see what is placed by them on my FB rss feed, as I feel it could be of importance to me, and something I would like to share, and could be important to share with others, via the same interest. Knowledge is powerful, and could mean so much to others if certain knowledge is shared, especially if it meets their needs that could help them, or if they know others that such information could be valuable to them.

I know this has been a long comment, but wanted to give my opinion, regardless if it counted or not. Actually, I am the "perpetrator" that Crabby Old Lady speaks about. I don't feel really comfortable with that word, as one of the many definitions explain that it is wrong doing, which is far from what my intentions were. My intentions were to set up a group (and am terribly embarrassed that it did not work out how I had hoped it would) where important information could be shared with parties, and they could share the same thing with others, if they felt it might be valuable to others. Therefore creating a help area for many to be a part within one location. The only reason I am even aware of TIME GOES BY, is because of ChangingAging, and I love TIME GOES BY, and visit it daily, and have made comments on things I feel strong about. It was actually TIME GOES BY, that made it important in many ways, that this type of group might be important, as many valuable things were found here that I felt really needed to be shared with others. The example of a free download of a book helping others find jobs, yet is only available to do this until Dec. 31st, I felt was very important to so many, especially in this day and age when finding jobs is so hard, and to have this valuable information for free is not only important, but crucial to so many. It is ironic to me, that what I had hoped to be a good group project, turned sour, which has taught me a lot though. After getting the angry email from Crabby Old Lady, not only did I send her an apology, but dropped the entire group, as I was ignorant (please do not confuse this with being stupid, but not aware of how it all worked via FB) concerning the trials and tribulations of still understanding FB groups.

Actually, I am thankful that she jumped on me, as it made me very aware of how I went about doing this wrong, and then I spent the rest of the day researching how groups were now placed on FB, and was shocked, and wrote about this to others so that they were award. It use to be that one could start a group where others could join, or just visit to find information that was important to them, and this was a great thing. But, FB has now changed it to if you start a group on FB, there is no joining, and if you tag, or add members, this is not an invite, but an invasion of their rights to be added to something they did not want, or even given the right to choose if they wanted to be a member or not, regardless if they think the idea of the group is a good one or bad one. I am just thankful that FB left the groups I count on, and are grandfathered in, so to speak, alone in this new group change of how this works.

Anyway, I can be long winded at times. I just wanted to give my opinion, and to once again apologize to Crabby Old Lady, as my intentions were to never spam anyone.

I admire a pwerson who speaks their own mind & doesn't care who the "heck" cares or not! I AGREE WITH CRABBY OLD LADY in many ways, but some don't apply to me.
I joined FB because my daughter convinced me to so we could write back & forth. Well that sizzled way down. So I had other friends to write to. Then 10, then 20 plus.
I became ill & FB became a place where I could go and "play" Farmville, but needed more friends to play. AND as "Crabby" says - many send invites to other game sites I don't play, hugs, kisses, hearts, etc. I block a lot of those too, not because I'm cold-hearted, but what purpose does it serve? Just adds another space to FB & takes up valuable time when you are working on something else? JUST WRITE ME AN EMAIL & SEND HUGS & KISSES OR JUST "SAY" IT! That satisfies me plenty!
I don't usually do "blogs" (if this is one I am really surprised at myself. BUT a very dear poetry friend posted something here, it showed up on my wall & it sparked an interest.
I LOVED the pictures "Crabby" posted - this is similar to my FB photos when I started mine "Old Me, New Me" and I didn't copy her - it just came to me, as I posted the same pictures on "Classmates".
WAIT - that's also how some of my friends either joined or were asked to join FB!
So now (when I'm not hurting too bad or can sit a while without hurting too much, I mostly play FARMVILLE, Country Life & Country Life (LITE) (all 3 are farms) and I keep in touch with school mates who like to write once in a while & my sister-in-law who just lost her husband of 24 yrs (my 46 yr old brother) & VERY RARELY 2 OF MY CHILDREN ON FB-one is in California.) I miss all three all the time, BUT I won't cry my life away. I only hope when they get older, their own kids don't treat them the same way they have treated me. They keep saying "that won't happen", but I never thought it would happen either.

Interesting post especially since I just read that Mark Zuckerberg is Time magazine's man of the year!

Tried it.


Did find my great-nephew's FB page.

He is now out of the will.

Katie: the change to groups was very recent and I was caught out by it too. I sent an unhappy email to someone who added me to a group I was not interested in and he felt very bad about it. I didn't realise that the system for groups had changed and that there is now no way to invite someone to a private group (rather than foisting the group upon them).

I hope they will undo this change as it has generated no small amount of ill-will.

FB is SO annoying, and 99.99% of the comments that land on my "wall" are so banal as to give new meaning to the word. I set up an account only because some of my cousins are on it. I have only a handful of "friends" and have locked down my account to the full extent allowed. Often I consider deleting my account, but then there are my cousins.... Sigh.

I enjoy FB to a min. extent...the games are ok and it is nice to be in contact with some family etc. I set up a page for our 50th class reunion to let folks know the particulars...but since I am a "luddite", I really don't know the in's and out's...I learn as I go in gradual steps and its one more part of the cyber world that keeps my brain for mushing over. Whatever works for you, Dear Crabby.

I didn't know which post to use for this comment but I thought crabby old lady might want to think about my question. I have been thinking about the tax bill and have come up with this question for Congress or anyone that is concerned about the subject. The question is -- how many members of Congress that voted to extend the tax break for the rich fall into the rich category -- and if they fell into the rich category, wouldn't this be considered a conflict of interest vote? Couldn't the taxpayers have it legally made null and void? -- barbara

I joined FB simply to be familiar with it. Rarely go there. Don't like it any better now that I did in the beginning, as I think it's a general waste of time. Initial features I thought I'd like I soon tired of. I've provided very little personal info and no pics there. Still restrict friends to those not local, old HS and college friends that might turn up, but haven't looked for any -- a few have found me which has been interesting; no bloggers as they can come to my blog. Have friending requests to which I haven't responded if I don't recognize name. Other locals/bloggers I send a private email re my FB policy but open to other contact means. I still don't Twitter.

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