Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Social Networks - Expanding Families Day by Day

I'm from a fairly large extended family. Although I only have two siblings and eleven first cousins, my mother (whose parents were each one of eight) had over fifty first cousins when we once tried to count them. And I know of lot of their children (my second cousins) and my kids know some of their kids. (That makes them third cousins, I think.) For the Ball & Chain (an only child from a small family) it's a bit overwhelming, and I'm constantly having to draw him Venn diagrams to explain relationships.

And then comes along Facebook. My mother's cousins (including the mother of my second cousin Trish @ Mum's Gone To) are all on there, although my mum's still digging her heels in and refusing to understand "why people want to tell each other what they had for dinner". Me, I think it's great. I can see FB photos of my second cousin who's moved to Cyprus with his wife and little boy. A decade ago I would probably only see him every ten years, and probably at family funerals at that. I know more about my mother's family than she does now - and I'm not even in the same country.

It'll be really interesting to see how social networking changes how families grow in the future. I would love to think that my kids and their third cousins manage to stay in touch, although explaining the relationships to each other will get a little more complicated.

It'll also be interesting to see what happens to photo albums. Since many people are sharing photos digitally these days (whether you're on FB or not), I have a feeling that we just won't bother to print them off. More people see my photos now than if I had them neatly arranged in a photo album.

What do you think?


  1. I'm not sure I 'get' facebook and it still freaks me out that what I write 'over there' somehow turns up 'over here' but then I'm middle-aged and muddled.

    But vicarious me LOVES quietly snooping around other people's photos and gaping at the things they write in public.

    so yes, I guess I'm a fan...!
    Pig x

  2. Well of course I agree with you as without Facebook the family link between the two of us may have been missed!

    My son is an only child and it is fantastic for him to appreciate, through social networking, that he is part of a much bigger family.

    After a recent family wedding I posted some photos while the bride and groom were off on honeymoon - by tagging the people on FB, everyone was able to see photos of the occasion even if they hadn't been able to attend.

    I do still print my photos off, though often in a job lot twice a year.

  3. Well maybe it works for you but all I have is five thousand photos on my hard drive and no idea how to find any of them even if I manage to put them into folders saying 'March 2010'. No I am all for turning back the clock. Bring back analogue photos! I still print out my digitals and put in an album. I miss those days when one only took a few pics 'to save wasting film' instead of clicking every second and letting the kids go haywire with the camera.

  4. I'm exactly the same; I keep in touch with my brother on FB as I haven't seen him for over 18 months now. He has two lovely boy, 15 and 13, and from his photos I am able to see how much they've grown (although I'd never tell them that!!!)

    Social networking is a wonderful aspect of socialising.

    CJ xx

  5. I think FB is great but was a bit freaked out recently when I received a bday card from a friend. She had ordered from Moonpig and had used pics from my album in FB.

  6. I've hardly printed out a single picture since we got a digital camera in 2003.

    But you're right, so many more people see the pics online than if I'd put them in a photo album. We just have to find a way of preserving online photos and making sure they don't all get deleted when we ineviatably move on from Facebook to the next big thing. (sorry, Mark Zuckerberg. I like Facebook. But I bet it will happen).

  7. Interesting post. Yes, how WILL new era this affect family relationships? Perhaps it will mean that we keep up with those we really want to keep up with, and hang looser from those we have less in common with. Rather than having geography dictate.

  8. i used to be totally against facebook - hated people from my past tracking me down etc. but have now come round and i totally agree, it is great for keeping families connected in different parts of the world - really great.
    i still put pressure on myself to print off my photos, but i just have them piling up,and they don't end making it into albums.

  9. I blush when I think I still don't have a single printed photo of my three year old daughter, or my seven month old son. Maybe I should get to starting their albums sometime...

  10. I appreciate FB for keeping in touch with my cousins, old schoolfriends etc that I wouldn't otherwise bother to email.
    At the same time, however,I hate it for being so stupid, juvenile and time-consuming.
    And since we've had a digital camera I haven't taken a single photo! I can't be bothered to learn how. I should do, really...

  11. Really nice to read something so positive about social networking. It's still viewed with distrust by just about everyone I know aged over 50. 'They will see pictures of your SITTING ROOM and ROB YOUR PHOTOGRAPH FRAMES', etc.

  12. Well I'm old fashioned in some ways and like to have pictures of my grandchildren on the wall and be able to pick them up & change them about.
    FB doesn't appeal to me in the least.

    My mum was the last of 10 children so we had a huge family of cousins on her side.
    We had our favourites which we kept in touch with and still do.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  13. I have FB but don't get on it much because I get sucked in and spend hours there. But I do think email has changed communication for the better. Plus Skype and Vonage phone - amazing technology which keeps us better connected with family back home.

  14. I'm a FB fan!! Love that I can keep in touch with all my friends and family back in the UK...and of course my hubby who is stationed in Guam!

  15. Nice article, thanks for the information.

  16. V interesting post. I love FB. It's the ex pat angle for me. I only got into it when we moved abroad, cos it kept me connected with family & friends. I LOVE it for the photos, keeping up with growing families etc, but also it's gr8 the way it keeps you in touch with people without loads of emails. Not that I'm agst that but it gives little glimpses into lots of friends' lives. I find with old schl/uni friends etc, you connect share abrief catch up & then that's it. If u haven't kept up (partic for me as I have always been v gd at writign/keeping in touch) to SOME extent it is usually by choice, tho obv it's imposs to keep up with everyone even to the extent we did when at uni/younger etc.
    we always print off & make albums of 'big trips' special holidays & also a children's one etc. For children also there's no substitute I don't think for leafing thru old albums of them when they were younger. They just love it.
    Have to confess it's Twitter I just don't get at all, & no one ha smanage dto give me a gd explanation of why it's so gd. Unless you're a business & wnt the publicity!

  17. I wish more of my old friends and family would use FB! I love seeing photos and hearing what old friends had for dinner :) Made new friends through it too :)

  18. was just thinking about this as was admiring my cousins baby in Australia!

  19. I still feel like a bit of a stalker when I look at Facebook pictures - but thats just my age showing - also I don't know how to upload them in less than 24 hours so that doesn't work either - also I am paranoid about losing my photos and the thought of my computer crashing fills me with horror. But havent got round to printing or saving all pics. Kids all so relaxed though and I love it when they just look at everyone's photos after a party Lx


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