By Hannah Reich Berman

Facebook is something I am not overly familiar with. Several years ago, with the help of a friend who “walked” me through it over the phone, I managed to get myself onto that social network. It is still unclear to me why I bothered to do so, since I rarely use it. Every time I want to see or respond to what someone has posted, I call my son for a tutorial.

My guess is that I have studied more and worked harder learning how to navigate Facebook than my surgeon studied before he operated on my hand this past spring. And getting help from my son is no mean feat, since we live 6,000 miles apart and there is a seven-hour time difference. Most of the time, he is patient with me and doesn’t give me the world-weary sigh that I sometimes get from some of my other kids when they have to teach me something over and over again. His patience might be due to the fact that he is helping me because there is something that he posted that he wants me to see! So it is in his best interest to guide me through the steps without kvetching.

In the meantime, it is my fervent wish that people would stop trying to “friend” me. Some people want to “friend” me, and others want to “connect” with me on LinkedIn, and I have no idea what the difference is. I do not delude myself into thinking that the requests I receive are an indication of my popularity. I am no more (and hopefully no less) popular than anyone else. The simple fact is that a great many people want to connect with anyone and everyone.

Why a simple e‑mail isn’t enough, I cannot fathom. E‑mails work for me! Sometimes I send them and then I get responses. Other times, people send them to me, and then I respond. For me, the troublesome thing about these “friending” requests is that I didn’t want to insult anyone by not accepting the offer of online friendship and, because of that, I accepted the first ones I received and then I did nothing more. For that reason, I stopped accepting the offers. What would be the point? This might just be the one time I want people to know how limited I am–at least with regard to computer skills. My feeling is as follows: better for folks to think I’m a dope than to think I am being unfriendly and ignoring them.

Last week, my son posted something that he wanted me to see, so he once again willingly provided me with yet another lesson on how to see it. According to my calculations, it was the tenth time he has done this. Sonny Boy went through the entire spiel again. He attempted to teach, and I attempted to learn. I did my best to follow his instructions, and I was eventually able to go on and see what he had posted.

While I was on the site, I noticed that several people that I know had made comments about his post, and some of these people (I think of them as the responders) had their pictures next to their names. The pictures blew me away! One of them was a picture of a friend of mine, someone I see often; nevertheless, I didn’t recognize her at all. I must have done a classic double-take: I looked from name to picture and then back to name again.

How could I have recognized her? I have known this gal for 15 years, and she does not now look, nor has she ever looked, anything like the picture that she put next to her name. This friend is pretty, but the picture is gorgeous. My best guess is that she took it from her high-school yearbook, and I hasten to add that, since she is now 70-plus years old, that picture was taken more than half a century ago.

Why didn’t anyone tell me that this is what people do? Now, at 72 years of age, I have been on Facebook for about 10 years and, when I joined, I assumed that the thing to do was to put up a current photo. So there I am, for all the world to see, looking every bit of 62 years old while my friend, who is my age, looks young enough to be my granddaughter!

I have no idea how to remove my picture and put up a better one. I don’t even know how I managed to get my picture on there in the first place. In all likelihood, the friend, the one who helped me to get onto Facebook, probably guided me through that process as well. But she never told me that people put on pictures from their youth, a time when they looked spectacular.

In any case, I have no idea how to put another one up there, and it is highly unlikely that Sonny Boy will be willing to take the time and trouble to assist me in the endeavor. It appears that I am stuck for life with that none-too-attractive picture up there next to my name. I suppose I should be grateful that it is, after all, a picture that is 10 years old. Chances are that now, a full decade later, I appear that much older. Not that I actually notice, since I am like everyone else; when I see my face in the mirror every day, I don’t actually see the changes that have taken place.

It could be worse. When I spotted my friend’s youthful snapshot, I was sorry that mine was not also one from a long-ago past. But I got over it because eventually common sense kicked in and it occurred to me that anyone who happens to see this gal in person (and up close) will get the shock of his life, as she looks nothing like the Facebook picture. For that reason, I won’t bother to ask my son, or anyone else, to help me get a better (younger) picture up there. I will live with the one that I originally put on and be grateful for the fact that nobody who has seen it on Facebook will do a double-take if he or she should happen to meet me in person. That’s the way it is!

Hannah Berman lives in Woodmere and is a licensed real-estate broker associated with Marjorie Hausman Realty. She can be reached at or 516-902-3733.



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