In just the last few days, several... more senior members of my family have taken the plunge and joined Facebook. It made me realize that I've also noticed that a lot of my friends' parents have gotten on in the last few weeks. It was like, all of the sudden, Facebook's not just for twenty-somethings anymore, but I figured it was just sort of a coincidental thing that just seemed sudden to me. Apparently not, as Mike Elgan writes today:
Facebook, which has emerged as the most important social networking site, was originally designed for college students. But people kept using the service after graduation, and it evolved into a social network for young people in general. About six months ago, the walls came down altogether, and people of ages ranging from 12 to 90 started flooding in. There goes the neighborhood.This change is highlights something strange going on in this Web 2.0 world: Facebook is destroying the nuclear family. And this isn't a bad thing, because the nuclear family is being replaced by the truly traditional family, what we now call the "extended" family:
Nuclear family members are posting pictures, talking about school activities and telling what's going on in their everyday lives, and grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and others are tuning in -- and getting increasingly familiar with the rest of the extended family over vast distances. People are sending comments, and chiming in on family conversations. Facebook is bringing extended families together in real and meaningful ways.Who'd have thought the Internet would be helping people to reestablish, after a fashion, a family structure that broke down half a century ago?