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Wednesday, July 23, 2014
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Published: Friday, 7/31/2009

Friending Dad: Facebook offers moral dilemma

Welcome to the new Blade blog Culture Shock, a three-times-a-week riff by Pop Culture Editor Kirk Baird on pop culture news, events, and trends. The blog will appear Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings here, with the odd night or off-day posting if something is merited.

My dad and I are close. But, with my dad recently creating a Facebook account, the question I m now faced with is, do I want us to be Facebook close?

There s a big difference.

For instance, over the phone, I can cherry pick the news and updates I share with my dad. But if he and I were FB pals, my dad would be privy to everything I write online about my personal life. Like most sons and daughters regardless of age how I talk with my dad is different than how I chat with my friends.

Not that I m posting anything on FB that I wouldn t want my dad, mom, or employers to read (check out my story on the pitfalls of being too open with social networking sites), but I wouldn t want my father to hear or read any conversation I was having with a close friend anymore than I would want to hear or read a conversation between him and one of his buddies. Parents and children need friend separation; FB eliminates that barrier.

Being FB friends with my dad also means I could learn more about him than I ever wanted to know. For instance, he s using Facebook for dating purposes do I really want to read racy comments posted by one of his girlfriends?

And if he and his friends have a great night out on the town, do I want to know about it? Reading about my dad tying one on on FB doesn t interest me anymore than he d like to read that about his son.

So for now, I ve done nothing about my dad on Facebook, even though the site suggests almost daily I should be friends with him. For what it s worth, he hasn t sent me a request either perhaps for the same reasons.

For something as simple and wonderful as Facebook is, the site offers a great deal of unadvertised challenges. It s like getting that perfect gift on your birthday, and discovering the hidden print assembly required.

As my dad would say, Nothing good comes easy. If only being his FB friend wasn t so hard.

A video of Toledo mayoral candidate Ben Konop s encounter with a distracting boobird during a campaign speech has been a viral sensation.

The footage was captured by WTVG-TV, Channel 13, cameraman Chris Gierowski. And in an effort to cash-in on yesterday s White House beer summit, the station opted to put together a "Toledo beer summit" featuring Konop and his heckler, whom the station identifies as 31-year-old landscape architect Maxwell Austin.

While the story seemed like a desperate attempt to localize a national story, that s not my issue with the piece. It s the placement: Channel 13 opted to lead its 11 p.m. newscast with the story, as if it was a breaking-news exclusive that Toledoans needed to watch.

It wasn t.

It was a mayoral candidate having a beer with some guy who heckled him. The story, instead, should have been buried further in the newscast, before or directly after the weather, when most stations usually run the lighter, fluffier features-as-news stories.

And make no mistake, the Toledo beer summit piece was fluff.

Nothing was gained by the arranged meeting, other than Konop getting some more TV face time, and his one-time detractor, Austin, stretching his 15 minutes of video fame. And we learned nothing from their meeting, other than the two sorta patched up their differences apparently Austin was irritated that one of Konop s campaign workers trounced through his flower bed and may meet at another Konop speech. Hardly breaking-news material.

Was it a bad piece? No. It is what it is, as the popular cliche goes. But in a night when the government announced it may be ending the popular Cash for Clunkers program because the funds have run out, and the real beer summit was taking place at the White House, the Toledo beer summit hardly seemed like news.

Agree or disagree with a posting? Lemme know. Have a topic or suggestion? Lemme know that, too. Send an e-mail to kbaird@theblade.com or call 419-724-6734.



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