Explaining Social Media to Your Parents

Patience is a virtue, tweeting is a skill.


My dad once live-tweeted the entire VMAs, only he doesn’t have a Twitter account, so when I say that my dad once live-tweeted the entire VMAs what I mean is I received 25 texts in the span of two hours.

“Has Miley Cyrus gone insane?” he asked me.

“Is that guy on crack?!!?” he also asked, punctuation verbatim, and my favorite of the night (text number 15):

“Haha Rihanna and girl next to her look so bored.”

Had my dad been more social media savvy, he could have saved me that particular breed of fury which only occurs when you’re waiting for a specific text from a specific person and SOMEONE WHO IS NOT THAT PERSON WILL NOT STOP BLOWING YOU UP. Dad.

If only he’d had a Facebook wall or a Twitter, I might not have had to throw my phone across the room.

With the Oscars coming up I have decided to take a more proactive approach this time — not by limiting my dad’s voice but rather, by hoping to present him with the very tools that could help him share it. I e-mailed both my dad and my mom  (the e-mail, they excel in) and asked them to let me help them by answering their questions about social media.

Their questions are in bold, my answers are below, and I can only pray that we all get through the red carpet in peace.

From my mom:

“What exactly is a hash tag? I mean I know what it looks like but, what is it? 

Moms are right on the curve. They tend to know what’s up, but they don’t always know the full story. (Just like in high school! I am just kidding mom!) To that, our mothers are aware that The Hash Tag exists in the form of modern communication but don’t really get why.

Moms, think of hash-tagging as an organizational tool, just like when you used to make us clean up our rooms. One is a bin for #selfies. One is a bin for #swag. One is a bin for #TBT, and many are akin to the drawer or space under the bed that we used to hide all of our miscellaneous crap in so that the room appeared clean, but wasn’t.

“Vines – I actually like Vines! Mini movies are great. But I can’t remember how long they run and if they evaporate or something after the time is over. You know, just in case I ever have to make a reference.”

They are 6 seconds long, and nope, you can make all the references you want. What you’re thinking of is Snapchat, which does evaporate after a set amount of time.

“Oh right, that sexting app.”

Not everyone sexts with Snapchat, though be advised that it should be used with caution. Usually we’re just sending pictures of ourselves with double chins to friends. Sometimes we get creative. For example, I like to draw stick figures next to me accompanied by the caption, “Just hanging with all my boyfriends!”

“Is MySpace still around and does anyone use it?”

No…I think bands do? Actually have no clue. Comment section, help me out on this one.

Now, from my dad:

“Can you remember not having Facebook? What did you do instead? Did you have more time in the day to do other stuff? If I get an account, do you think I’ll be on it all the time?”

(Note: My dad is REALLY concerned that Facebook is the devil and or crack/cocaine. He wants to try it so badly but hasn’t given in.)

Hi dad, me here. To answer your questions: Yes. Myspace and AIM. No. Yes.

“Do you know anyone who doesn’t have Facebook? Do you think they’re weird? Would you date a guy who doesn’t have Facebook?”

I literally only know one person without a Facebook, and he does it because, “It’s cooler to tell chicks that you don’t have one. ” So, there you have it folks.

“Is Instagram only photos or can you include text?”

DAD WE ALWAYS HAVE THIS CONVERSATION. Picture, accompanied by text below, it’s called a caption. People can comment underneath. Yes people who are not my friends can see my pictures, yes you can set your profile to private if you want to.

“If you follow a lot of different people on Twitter do you get non-stop ‘tweets’ all day long? Doesn’t that get annoying? Does anyone actually use the word ‘tweet’? “

Funny you should ask that, dad. Remember how this story opened?….

Illustration by Charlotte Fassler

Get more Humor ?
  • Charlotte Fassler

    Once my Dad e-mailed me a picture of the dog and asked if I would Instagram it, email it back so then he could post it on “The Facebook.” He still doesn’t understand that Instagram is a photo-sharing tool and thinks it is an app to put contrasty filters on your Iphone pics…..

    • Anna

      Good point about instagram for just filers. When i don’t want to share photos, i just switch on airplane mode, so i can filter my photo without sharing it


      • Charlotte

        Actually you don’t need the airplane mode. If you cancel the Instagraming process after adding a filter, going to the next step but don’t share your picture, than your edited picture will be in a folder on your phone. I don’t know if this method works with iPhone but it does with Android.


  • samhallie

    #ericdiamonds text today made me lol

  • My dad is obsessed with sharing embarrassing childhood photos with all his contacts.


  • Darling Bonnie

    This is hilarious. my favorite line has to be from your dad when he said ” haha Rhianna and girl next to her look so bored.” LMAO your parents need a YouTube series, I think full on reality tv may be a bit much, a little overwhelming but at the very least a YouTube series should be conceived or one of those little VH1 specials where they show a stream of various things and have people pass judgement. To wrap this up though and answer that Myspace question, yeah no one cares about it anymore, I am a recording artist and I have one but I never and I do mean never sign in. I did so upon its revamping and put up a few pix and some music and then the relationship ended, it’s like trying to get back with an ex-boyfriend who you are just not in anyway destined to be with.

  • That was such a fun post to read, so thank you for bringing even more fun into my day. It’s really funny how my parents get along with technology, really. My parents are on Facebook more than I am, which is hilarious considering that I’m the teenager.

  • Angel

    HAHA such a cute and hilarious article! Yup its even more frustrating teaching them than them actually learning how to use it .
    check out my fashion blog.New posts every Sunday , Tuesday , Thursday and Saturdays .

  • Karla Amado

    OMG sooo funny! love it

  • Shaikha

    My dad thinks instagram is an app that you use to back up your photos in another medium.

  • Malena

    Haha totally love this! I always laugh so hard when my mum asks me al these funny questions about facebook, instagram or whatever social media channel it is. It’s quite entertaining and always love giving answers 🙂

    X Malena

  • s

    loling the entire time. my dad can’t even text properly, and my mother creates her own abbreviations for texts. My favorite has been, “r u ho” = are you home.

  • s

    loling the entire time. my dad can’t even text properly, and my mother creates her own abbreviations for texts. My favorite has been, “r u ho” = are you home.



  • Best post ever! My mum just got Twitter and her first tweet was “tweet lmao”. I don’t even know what lmao means.

    The Macadame. xx


  • Celeste


  • Georgia

    I had to teach my GRANDPA how to put a profile picture on Facebook, and explain what a profile picture was. Most excruciating and hilarious hour of my life.

  • Great post! It can be a little complicated to them. But when they start using, it’s great to see how enthusiastic they can get;)

    XX Fi


  • Charlotte Fassler

    My grandma also used to call the computer the “magic box”

  • gk13

    My father is big in to the gram. I’ve explained to him what it does, all the different lingo and how its different from snapchat but that doesn’t stop him from instagrammning his weed man “Slaughter” and writing #retirement under it…

  • Erica M

    Hahaha, that’s so funny! I am loving the “What is a hashtag?” one.

    Erica’s Edition

  • MM

    My dad signs every text, Love dad, as if his name doesn’t pop up with the message.

  • teamgloria

    *chortling* in los angeles over this brilliant post.


    old enough to say chortle.

    young enough to put *chortling* in asterix to denote action.

    And british (hence use of not only chortle but “denote” 😉

    Love your site. Such a distinctive voice. #wittyAndWise

  • zoe_whip

    Your parents are right up there with Ray and Ben Stern (Howard Stern’s parents)…

  • Nessa Yesufu

    I really liked that, made my boyfriend and I laugh. Love how your dad has all these in depth questions, seems he has really thought about it, love it! My dad thinks all social media is killing our brains and my mum still has to ask me how to comment on something on Facebook however is always amazed when she sees her comment + her name and face next to it.

  • Aubrey Green

    I don’t have FB, or Twitter – what does that say…? I have instagram.

    • sarah

      i think it says you are someones parent…me too, and i don’t have instagram either! shame on moi!! however the INTERNET is amazing. 😉

  • My dad has posted on Facebook a total of maybe 3 times -all of which occurred when my mom was out of town. Can’t decide if it’s adorable or pathetic.


  • oyoy

    this is how my mum works with instagram.

    1. follow the entire world
    2. pick a random victim every day at tea time
    3. stalk them to the beginning of time and double tap the crap out of them.

    I try explaining how creepy it is when you get a notification on social media along the lines of “(some perv) liked your post/photo/status from June 2008.” She claims it’s flattering that people still care about the past.

  • Just Curious

    How old are you parents??? Just curious

  • sarah

    oh balls to the whole lot.being social-savvy is so very last year. even being so-over social savvy is so last year. i think its cool that your parents exist is a time where they can know pre and post, because at least they feel they have a choice. however your generation just doesn’t really. and Facebook is evil. think about it, they make money off your every post. a business. off your private thoughts and conversations. THAT is weird, not your folks. i know this is late, but please tell your parents they are everything. x

  • Blu Blood

    1. No, bands don’t use MySpace. Not serious ones. They might still have an account up, but they don’t check it. It’s just a place to store old tracks, if anyone is interested in what they sounded like during that time period.

    2. It is way cooler to say you don’t have a facebook. I’m a girl and guys always ask about this and think it means I’m unique. (Lol…laziness = unique, yet again!)