Making friends the easy way

Jenny and I got married last week. At least, that is what our son Joe told us after seeing it on the internet. He found it on Facebook.

How did it get there? It turns out it was my fault, and I was pretty embarrassed. It was a quick reminder of the danger of me fooling around with technology.
After years of saying I wasn’t going to get a Facebook account, I finally signed up for one. Within minutes I had fouled up. I forgot to put a date in the blank after clicking that I was married to Jenny Mitchell. Because the date was blank, Facebook concluded we got married that day.
Fortunately, Joe showed me what I had done wrong and how to fix it. Jenny and Joe thought it was pretty funny. Jenny didn’t razz me about it though, because she knew the only reason I had signed up for a Facebook account was because she had gotten one.
It all started 10 days ago when she attended a writing workshop for teachers in Oxford. Participants were told they would keep in touch by using Facebook. Jenny, of course, didn’t have an account, so she came home and created one. That night, there was lots of frustration, lots of calling for Joe to come help, and trouble finding a picture for the home page.
After all that, the next morning at the workshop everyone concluded the Facebook link was too much trouble to set up, leaving Jenny with an account she really hadn’t wanted. But not one to let my wife get ahead when it comes to technology, I decided to get one, too. That night, there was lots of frustration, lots of calling for Joe to come help, and trouble finding a picture for the home page. (I couldn’t even remember how to download a picture from our camera to the computer.)
So that’s how we got where we are – two people on Facebook who have no idea what we’re doing. So far I haven’t posted anything besides my marriage; that was enough embarrassment.
But within a few minutes of setting up the account, I had several “friend” requests, a couple from people whose names I knew, but I couldn’t remember whether I knew them when I worked in Kansas City, upstate New York or San Diego. The past 25 years I’ve lived and worked in the South.
I did link up with a colleague from college at the University of Missouri. He graduated in the same class 46 years ago. He lives in Kansas City and is semi-retired, but writes a column on faith and ethics. He has 1,239 Facebook “friends.”
A young reporter who worked for me 10 years ago in South Carolina has 699. It reminded me that the Facebook definition of “friend” isn’t the same as mine.
So far, I have 33 “friends” and Jenny has 16. Even with that small number, we are getting odd items and pictures of people we don’t recognize. Reading the posts on Facebook could occupy a lot of time.
Hey, but we’ve made a leap in technology. So have a billion other people. Hopefully, they won’t all want to be friends.   
T. Wayne Mitchell, Gzette publisher, can be reached at 662-534-6321 or by e-mail at