My Father-in-Law Just Started Using Facebook

This is my new endeavor to share my personal life through casual, lifestyle updates. While these posts will not be massive like my usual pieces, you can still expect a personal development lesson or two with each post. I’ll continue to write content-rich pieces alongside these casual-styled updates.

Let me know how you guys find them! 😀

Recently, my (future) father-in-law started using Facebook. He just bought a Samsung Galaxy S4 which has given him access to smartphone capabilities (his previous phone didn’t have such functions).


Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung Galaxy S4: a phone which has opened up new possibilities.

Imagine my surprise when Ken told me a few days ago that his dad “liked” my Facebook page. I was like, “Really?” while giving a “o_O” face. Then I quickly logged onto my Facebook page to look through my recent “likes” history.

It took a few scrolls (since I have quite a few new “likes” to my page daily) but sure enough, I saw my future father-in-law’s face!

My father-in-law's like on my Facebook page

That’s Ken’s dad right there! Hi uncle!!! *waves* (I refer to Ken’s dad as “uncle” and not “dad” as Ken and I are not married yet.)

Personally I think that is really cool, what Ken’s dad is doing. (Uncle is in his 60s.)

My parents are tech-illiterate: they have mobiles but they don’t know how to use the PC. (Not that they care; their lives were never built around the PC. Same for my friends’ parents. Many of their lives are built independent of PCs/internet, and hence there is little reason for them to learn how to use them.)

But Ken’s dad stepped into social media — a territory unknown to him — on his own. Ken believe that his dad saw his friends using smartphones and bought one to get with the times. Just last Sunday, he asked Ken for a tutorial on smartphones/mobile apps and wound up inquiring him for over an hour! He didn’t get to ask about Facebook, but somehow figured that out on his own and added Ken and Ken’s younger brother to his friends list!

(Imagine how shocked Ken was when he saw his dad requesting to be “his friend” on Facebook. LOL. ) Ken’s dad has nine friends on his profile so far (including Ken and his brother).

Not only has uncle figured out how to add friends, he has also figured how to search pages of interest and “like” them. His recent Facebook activity:


My father-in-law facebook activity

Him “liking” pages of his interest, such as on Buddhism and Chinese dieties

Then just two days ago, he figured out how to surf albums (all on his own; none of us have been teaching him this) and started “liking” all the photos of me and Ken:

Ken's dad liking our photos on Facebook

Ken’s dad “liking” all our photos (plus some more)

He even went as far as to “like” all my Facebook status updates, to which I exclaimed to Ken, “I thought you said your dad doesn’t know English?”

To which Ken replied, “Yeah he doesn’t understand what you’re posting. He’s just ‘liking’ your updates because he says he wants to support his daughter-in-law.” LOL!

What We Can Learn

I found Ken’s dad inspiring because even though he was born in an era without computers/internet/social media and he doesn’t have to acquaint himself with these tools, he gamely bought a smartphone, ventured into the digital world, and learned Facebook on his own. Takes openness, a learning spirit, and a curious mind to achieve that, especially as some older folks can be technophobic.

(It’s not just with Facebook too: Ken’s dad has also installed Whatsapp, added Ken on Whatsapp, and begun messaging him there. I think Ken was a little weirded out by his dad’s sudden emergence on these social tools, lol. 😅)

Because of his willingness to step out of his comfort zone, Ken’s dad has gained:

(a) A potentially stronger relationship with me and his son

I got quite intrigued by uncle being on Facebook, so I logged into Ken’s account and messaged him there.

Saying hello to Ken's dad on Facebook

Saying hello to Ken’s dad on Facebook


While the three of us already talk on a daily basis, this increased connectivity is a chance for uncle to know us better and vice versa. Uncle looking through our Facebook albums and seeing our proposal photos and Scotland photos is an example of the former at work, while me seeing uncle’s Facebook activity helps me to understand him better through his hobbies and interaction with friends.

(b) An increased connectedness with his friends

Uncle is now connected with his friends not just offline but online in the digital space. I was amazed that his friends (in their 50s–60s) use Facebook too; in fact they have been responding to his status updates!

(c) Benefits which Facebook, and the digital world have to offer

Opportunity to connect with lost friends, chance to further personal interests (e.g., through related Facebook pages), and whatever benefits which Facebook and the internet have to offer (which is a lot). Given that uncle doesn’t have a PC (he doesn’t need to; he’s a taxi driver), his new smartphone is his window to the WWW.

Just last month Ken helped him to create an email account, which sounds about the best way to kick-start one’s internet journey!

Reflecting onto Myself

Uncle’s foray into Facebook makes me wonder: Are there things which I haven’t tried but can benefit from learning?

Four things that came to mind: 

  1. Medici EffectMedici Effect is the notion that groundbreaking ideas intersect in seemingly unrelated fields. By being well-versed in different fields, you enter this unique position to spot trends behind seemingly unrelated phenomena, after which you can apply these lessons to other areas in your life to achieve groundbreaking results. (It’s quite possibly why Leonardo da Vinci was the genius that he was, because he was so diversely exposed to different fields from painting, to sculpting, to architecture, to music, to maths, to engineer, to many more.

    I’ve always wanted to develop myself in new fields, but never got around to doing it. Seeing Ken’s dad at work made me think about areas I can improve my knowledge in, so I searched Coursera today for courses which (a) I don’t have background in and (b) am interested in.

    Three courses fit my criteria: “Unpredictable? Randomness, Chance and Free Will“, “A Beginner’s Guide to Irrational Behavior” (sounds interesting!), and “Useful Genetics Part 1“. I’ve signed up for all three: the first starts in January 2014; the second doesn’t have a start date yet; the third just started! I look forward to learn about genetics in next six weeks; probably will refresh what I’ve learned in secondary school biology plus much more. 😳

  2. Public Speaking: Having been speaking/training for companies/at events in the past five years, I already have a good body of speaking experience. However, I’m interested to study the theoretical aspects of speaking for a change; I believe this will be a great accent for my field experience and can be used to complement it.

    Beyond signing up for Introduction to Public Speaking on Coursera (the course starts in March 2014), I’ve bookmarked public speaking videos on YouTube and will be studying them over the next few weeks until I acquire what I need.

  3. Blogging: I’ve always stayed away being too heavily involved in SEO updates because I rather focus on building my blog for people than machines. However, I see value in keeping abreast of the in’s and out’s of SEO. Back to devouring Google Webmaster Help videos and tweaking PE in Google Webmaster Tools in the next few weeks.
  4. Relationships and Marriages: I’ve the best relationship I can ever ask for today and frankly speaking, Ken and my relationship defies many typical molds which people have for relationships (e.g., honeymoon period, stereotypical gender behaviors, warming up period, and having to date for X period before proposing/marrying). At this point we feel like old souls sailing through life together; it has gotten to the stage where I can murmur a string of random words (especially when I’m lazy to talk in full) and Ken will know what I’m saying.

    That said, I don’t plan to take our relationship for granted. I want to borrow books on relationships and marriages from the library to see what mainstream literature has to teach about the topic, so I don’t fall into any traps and can achieve the best out of our relationship.

    I’m guessing 95% of the material would be either of concepts I already know or on stereotypes which don’t apply to our relationship (e.g., arguments over who left the toilet seat up), but it’s still nice to check it out. I plan to borrow the books later today: might even blog about them if I come across something interesting!

How About You?

Anything which you haven’t tried before / have been resisting but can benefit from learning? Give it a think and check them out!

While Facebook and Whatsapp may be ubiquitous tools today, it’s the way Ken’s dad readily embraced these tools of little relevance to him/his era that I found admirable. I find his attitude one which we can embrace in our lives: to things which we are resisting or have yet to learn about. I’ve shared mine above; how about yours? I’d love to hear from you!

On a related note, another piece on learning: How to Increase Your Learning Multifold with This Simple “Hack”

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