3 Ways Your Mom Is Better Than You At Facebook

By Evan LePage | 1 year ago | No Comments

Photo by Peter and Joyce Grace.
Photo by Peter and Joyce Grace.

In their third quarter report this past October, Facebook admitted that they had seen a decline in daily teenage users in the U.S. This admission confirmed a recent Piper Jaffray report that showed how Twitter had surpassed Facebook as the most important social network among teens. So what happened?

If you ask teens why they’re leaving Facebook, you’ll likely be greeted by a variety of responses, everything from “I’ve been using it for so long that it’s boring,” to “People I don’t like chat me all the time.” Another response we’ve all heard is “My Mom is on Facebook.” Teens want privacy, and having your mom scoping out your wall isn’t appealing for many adults, let alone teens. It’s this desire for privacy that has helped SnapChat rise in popularity.

That said, I tend to reject the “mom” argument for leaving Facebook. In fact, I’d argue that if all people used Facebook the ways our moms did, teens and adults would enjoy the social network more than ever.

To prove my point, here are 3 ways your mom is better than you at Facebook:

1. Her Friends Are Actual Friends

HootSuite social media coordinator Hannah Clark (right) with her mother and sister.
HootSuite social media coordinator Hannah Clark (right) with her mother and sister in a definite mom profile photo.

In the last few years, Facebook has become a popularity contest for many people. Users strived to have the most friends among their peers, and in doing so their Home Feeds often became a dumping ground for information that they didn’t care. It turns out that most of us don’t care that the guy you met at your friend’s girlfriend’s party two summers ago dressed as Miley Cyrus for Halloween. With so much useless info clogging up your feed, it’s no surprise that many people are leaving Facebook behind in favour of the very personal experience offered by Snapchat and other networks.

Enter mom. While we all know many social-savvy moms who play the friend game as well, most moms that I’m connected to have friend lists of under 100 people. Basically, many moms have approached Facebook as a tool to connect with their ACTUAL friends, not their casual acquaintances. Perhaps this stems from a healthy reluctance to share personal information and experiences with strangers? Whatever the reasoning, many moms look through their home feeds and actually see things that matter to them. They see photos and posts from real friends, and this comfort actually makes them more prone to engagement (commenting, sharing and the like). If your Facebook feed was completely filled with close friends, wouldn’t you use it more?

2. She is a Serial Commenter

Me and my mom a few years ago taking our first selfie together. Hi mom!
Me and my mom a few years ago taking our first selfie together. No duckface. Hi mom!

Of the 550 or so friends I have on Facebook, I regularly interact with — through likes or comments — maybe 25 to 30 of them. Maybe. This relates back to the fact that so many of these contacts aren’t real friends. But it also has to do with the fact that Facebook has lately become a barren wasteland for interaction. When Facebook introduced the Like button in 2009, they probably didn’t want it to replace comments. But that’s where my feed is today, and the same can be said about countless others. Everyday I see posts with 20+ Likes and not a single comment. While silent approval is great, humans need actual conversation and interaction.

Enter mom. Moms comment on everything. My mom, my aunts, their friends… these people do not click the Like button and move on. They voice their appreciation of new photos, they encourage us as we take on new endeavours, if they laugh at a funny post then they let us know that they did. Whether or not you want your mom commenting on everything, most of us will readily admit that the best moments on Facebook occur in comment threads below posts. The engagement, the arguments, the teasing and the laughs that come out of comments are what makes this social network actually social, and enjoyable. While I’ve come to ignore the Likes, I’ll always take the time to read the comments. I just wish there were more of them.

3. She Likes to Humble Brag

When you have grandkids this cute, you can bet you'll be sharing lots of pics on Facebook. Lead Storyteller Jordan Behan's parents and children.
When you have grandkids this cute, you can bet you’ll be sharing lots of pics on Facebook. Lead Storyteller Jordan Behan’s parents and children.

Bragging can get tiresome, fast. We all have the friend who posts about their car/vacation/awesome job (guilty) far too often. But strangely enough, Facebook is also filled with the most mundane day-to-day experiences that you have to wonder what people are thinking when they click “Post.” “Eungh, so tired!” might get a few Likes. But the Likes are likely exponentially smaller in number compared to the people who scroll right by, or facepalm at the mediocrity.

Enter mom. The moms that I’m privileged to have as friends on Facebook are far more selective about what they share (except, maybe, when it comes to Farmville requests… but you can block those). It’s almost as if before they post something, they ask themselves “will anyone actually care?” Sure, their profiles are often littered with humble brags to the tune of “So proud of my daughter on her new job!” or what have you. But in general, moms don’t post about the mundane every day. They don’t talk about cleaning, or laundry or waking up early in the same way that younger adults and teens talk about studying, or cooking or waking up early. They use Facebook to share the relevant moments that differentiate their days, which is exactly the type of ‘spice’ that many of our Home Feeds are lacking.

Obviously the above examples don’t apply to all moms. There are many mothers out there who are incredibly active on social media and who are facing the same Facebook trials and tribulations that are driving teens and others away. But the fact is that many moms have approached Facebook as a tool to really connect and keep in touch with good friends, and that purpose is reflected in how they act and interact on the social network day in and day out. If more of us approached Facebook in the same way, we might fall back in love with the tool that, for many of us, is responsible our love affair with social media.

Do you agree? Let us know in the comments below.

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19 comments
Annekhkjkjbkj
Annekhkjkjbkj

I left fb through others lack of interest... I'd read and comment on their posts and wasn't getting feedback.  Find Twitter much more stimulating (or is that the pot of coffee I drink a day...).  'Friends' and family are sometimes overated.  I want to be connected to people who are interested in those things that interest me... world issues... poverty... war... climate/pollution, etc.  Not so much the mundane. 

Lafbgd
Lafbgd

Thanks for this wonderful true text.

randy001
randy001

I figure that if I can't pick up my phone and call you or shoot you an email because I don't have that contact information, we must not be friends enough for you to see my golf score or what I was doing with my grandson. 

EvelyneOreskovich
EvelyneOreskovich

This is spot on!  Thanks for this!  I'll be sharing with the kids in my life - and my mom!

sitesthatwork
sitesthatwork

 This really hits home - what a great set of observations!

Alex
Alex

This describes me perfectly...

Lindap
Lindap

Excellent post, I use Facebook to communicate with my study partner in a different state. As a Mum and a postgraduate student, it's not just a social tool, it has become a study tool.

Ero
Ero

Moms don't talk about cleaning or cooking or doing the laundry because most of them work, something you have forgotten is an important aspect of moms' lives. I don't see how stereotypes help your article.

CJ Virtual PA
CJ Virtual PA

Wouldn't the world be a better place if teens admitted they could learn from their Mums! Have they not moved away from Facebook to gain more privacy from us Mums on other platforms such as Instagram? It's challenging to keep up but isn't that why they teach us so much and I'm thankful for that!

makiomilano
makiomilano

This is the article i was looking for. I have the same thoughts, teens made facebook a bunch of noneless info but moms are taking advantage of this social media like my mom, she has an iPad, a facebook account, gmail and pinterest, that's all she needs and lives happy and informed. I like to receive her comments instead of few likes from 'i dont know why i have you' . Somehow social network is evolving once again!. Where is heading, i dont know. Any ideas?

MothersTonic
MothersTonic

All true, and you didn't even mention the lack of selfie's on mom's Facebook page. From this post, perhaps a new trend, a new question to ask myself before posting on Facebook: What Would Mom Do? 

Disclaimer: I am a mother, and both my teenager and 80-year old mother eschew Facebook for Instagram.

aweditorial
aweditorial

Here's your mom comment. ;) Excellent points. I happen to be one of those active social media moms who owns her own biz, and I got stuck with way too many FB contacts in the beginning, but I do use FB almost exclusively for originally offline friend and family connection. And yes, I do think about whether anyone will care before I post. I control my news feed with FB's "show in news feed" option for friends and pages. For business (I'm a book shepherd/editor/indexer), I focus on Twitter, G+, and LinkedIn.

Excellent post, BTW. Will pass it on over at Twitter, where I found it.

evanlepage
evanlepage moderator

@Ero Apologies if it wasn't clear, but I included these as examples of tasks everyone does. The point of the statement was to show that, while younger people often share updates every time they clean the house of cook, moms don't waste time on the mundane. This wasn't meant to imply that this was all moms did. Hopefully that clears things up! Thanks for reading.

NicciRowe
NicciRowe

@Ero - While there is no need for stereotypes in any written article, you should probably not use MORE stereotypes when having a whine about someone else using said stereotypes.

Not ALL Mums work, that is a very stereotypical thing to say. In fact, I have quite a few friends who prefer to be stay at home Mums, myself included. At least I'll get to see my child grow up, and at least I'll be able to do my job, as her mother, and teach her the things she needs to know, rather than expecting a child care center or school to do it for me.

evanlepage
evanlepage moderator

@makiomilano The only thing that's certain is that 5 years from now there will be brand new social networks we haven't even imagined yet. It's an exciting thought! thanks for reading.

Jessica79
Jessica79

@MothersTonic I like selfies of my friends and family.  I use Facebook to connect with people hundreds of miles away from me.  I love them and thus love seeing their happy faces, as many times as they want to show them to me.

aweditorial
aweditorial

@MothersTonic I love this: WWMD rocks! Yeah, I think the Boomers have launched a successful coup de social media on Facebook. It is so cool that your mom is on Instagram! I have an account there, but I'm not as casual-photo inclined as other folks, I think.

evanlepage
evanlepage moderator

@MothersTonic Don't know how I forgot about the selfies. I really like the WWMD approach. Maybe we should make t-shirts. Thanks for reading!

evanlepage
evanlepage moderator

@aweditorial Awesome to hear you're truly taking advantage of a variety of social networks for business and personal purposes. Thanks for reading and sharing!