Teaching My Mom How To Facebook… From 7000 Miles Away!

Teaching Your Mom Facebook
Teaching My Mom Facebook

My mom wanted to learn what Facebook is all about, and how can she start her own account? In normal circumstances, this could be a very easy problem to solve. Simply log on to Facebook.com, add your personal information, activate your account and start ‘Facebooking’ (hmmm, interesting word). But this was not a normal circumstance. I had quite a few challenges ahead of me before I could declare this operation a success.

The challenges:

  1. My mom is a senior citizen that is not a savvy internet user. By that I mean, she knows how to check emails and surf the net, but that is about it. No Twitter, no Facebook, no Youtube, or any of the other Social Media website.
  2. My mom lives in Israel, which is approximately 7,000 miles away from where I live.

The tools I have used were not many, but enough to get the job done.

Tools:

  1. Skype account
  2. A camera
  3. A microphone

The operation:

  1. The first step I took was to create the actual account. I knew my mom will get overwhelmed with all the information, so I asked her to provide me with an easy password she can remember, and used it to start the account.
  2. Once this step is over, I made sure to add only a few people (no more than 5-6) as her friends, and the reason is because I wanted to keep the activity on the Newsfeed to a minimum (it can get overwhelming at times, especially for a newcomer).
  3. Next step is to switch the English mode on her Facebook account to a Hebrew mode, which will make things much easier for her.
  4. Building the profile. This is the part I had to use the camera, and it was not easy at all because of the poor visual quality, but we manage to do a good job at it. People who are not as active using the internet can get naïve at times, so make sure they do not reveal too much information on their profile (i.e. address, phone number, etc).

Once you have everything set up, the most difficult and tedious part begins, teaching how to use Facebook.

In order to teach my mom how to do so, I had to break this process into small steps, or, for lack of a better term, baby steps.

This is the order of steps I found to be the best with explaining how to use Facebook:

  1. I started with explaining the “status report” (the “what’s on your mind?” question). Once I explained the reason of it, I asked her to write something, and share it with others so she can see what it is all about.
  2. The second step was to explain the “comment” and the “Like” functions. Again, once I explained this part, I made sure to give a “test” to see if she really understood.
  3. The “wall” was next. I explained to her the reason Facebook has the “wall”, how to use it, and then a short test to see that she understood. She did J.
  4. The “Notifications” widget was the trickiest feature to explain, but by using my account to write on my mom’s “wall”, I managed to explain it with live examples.
  5. Lastly was the “Home”, Personal newsfeed (Your name on top), and the “chat”.

This was it. After two hours on Skype, my mom finally (I hoped) understood Facebook.

When I woke up this morning I noticed that she already wrote on three “walls”, commented on two “statuses”, and chatted with me when I first checked my Facebook this morning. Good job mom!

Have you ever had such and experience before? Do your parents try to start Facebook but do not know how? Use this post to help, it is quite easy.

Photo credit: BackToSchoolDays

facebook comments:

  • Irm Haleem

    Great layout of the piece. Very inviting.

  • Thank you, Ir. I am glad you liked it.