My kids are draggin’ me kicking, screaming and stompin’ my tennie runners into the 21st century … again. They made me join the social networking Web site, Facebook. Yep, I now have my own Facebook page. Not that I could have figured out how to perform this daunting task all by myself, you understand. Oh, but I had lots of help. “Mom, what do you want to use for a password?” said Katie, perched in front of my computer keyboard. Geez, just the thought of having to remember another blasted password was beginning to feel a lot like a minor case of food poisoning, but I humored the child. After a few more keystrokes, I was woefully committed. Katie reassured me that Facebook doesn’t have all the pre-teen and teenage angst that MySpace seems to have. The free site was founded several years ago by a former Harvard student. Originally, it was restricted to just Harvard University students, but later expanded to other universities. Ask any college student, and unless they live under a very large rock, they probably have one. The sole reason my kids wanted me to get on board with Facebook was to be able to look at Ricky’s pictures while he was studying abroad. I did a little research, and according to Wikipedia, downloading photographs is the number one activity of Facebook users. I guess I could see the kid’s point. Ricky was going to be away from home till mid-May and it wasn’t like he could e-mail all his digital pictures to his parents. Something about way too many mega-mega bites. I have to say it has been very interesting being able to view Ricky’s photographs of the places he has been so far. My favorite is a beach shot in his “hometown” city of Valencia. It typifies our son’s nature. He’s standing on his head next to a sand castle. Facebook also has a feature where Ricky’s Facebook friends can “tag” him with their own photos. Somehow, photographs that his friends have taken, which include Ricky, appear on his Facebook page. Sounds confusing, don’t it? All I know is there are pictures of Ricky with other foreign exchange students up in trees, bowling and eating in Chinese restaurants … all in Spain. I have to admit, I was a tad slow getting my own Facebook page started. It took me about a month just to fill in my “profile.” There are a few general questions asked, one being your “marital status.” Of course, I filled in “married” from a pull-down menu. I would have preferred “happily hitched for bunches of years,” but that wasn’t one of the choices. Apparently, adding the “married” part on my profile caused quite a stir with my children. Since I hadn’t filled in my profile right away, it appeared on Facebook that I had just gotten married. I learned that every time something is edited on your Facebook, a “news-feed” is sent to your “friends” so they may take note. My marital status was noted as “Dixie is listed as married” on February 18, which prompted my children to write on my Facebook “wall,” a note to their mom the very next day. “Gosh mom, when did you get married? Hahaha,” wrote Ricky on my “wall.” Katie wrote, “Ha! Under my newsfeed it said, ‘Dixie Frantz is now married.’ Newsflash to Facebook – you’ve been married for way longer than one day! I know you changed your relationship status, but that made me crack up!” Since I’ve been a Facebook member, I noticed lots of interesting things that go on in this virtual world. Did you know that you can send a virtual gift to one of your friends? The first one is free … the next one cost a buck. Not sure how they collect, but hey. The gifts are all cute little icons such as hearts, balloons, a pair of red lips, and my personal favorite, a Hostess cupcake. Oh, but there is more. You can play games like Chess, Scrabulous (sounds like a form of Scrabble to me), and Oregon Trail. It also lists how many friends are playing and how many games you have won and lost. For as often as I access my Facebook, it would take 10 years to play one game of Scrabulous with a friend. Oh, and did I tell you that Katie has a “dogbook” on her Facebook page for her pooch? Abby even has a list of her favorite activities and doggy treats. And yes, Abby has her own profile and you can virtually “pet” her. As if joining Facebook wasn’t 21st century enough for this mom, next week Katie is going to teach me how to send my very first text message. Now if I can just learn to program phone numbers into my cell phone, I officially will have arrived. Dixie Frantz is a Kingwood resident and newspaper columnist for the past 12 years. E-mail Dixie with your comments at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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