Mr. Social Networking

After Nate sent a message on Facebook, pretending to be me (My Homegrown Hacker), I’ve been pushing him to sit for a few minutes with me and create his own page. One of his professors suggested that over a year ago, but Nate responded with, “Maybe later.” That means never, no, don’t want to. But after the giggles he got from his little intrusion into my world, he seemed genuinely up for it, his putting me off more a delay than a denial.

On Monday we got to work. It was more difficult than I figured; he has no email address and it took a while for me to creat a Gmail account for him. I sent him out of the room during that process, not wanting to push his patience and lose him for the whole scheduled event. Once he had a real email address (his Cobleskill address proved useless), he got started.

Nate knows his way around the computer, and it took no time for him to choose a profile picture that he liked. Then he looked for friends: our family, Elise (his aide), Jimmy (my long time pal), Mrs. McGuire (Karen’s friend who connects with Nate), and Prof. Lauber.  His first status update reflected back on his unasked contribution to my page. “That happened on June 10,” he wrote,  and I bet it should’ve been my first message!”

I asked Nate to do one thing for me: log on through his laptop and put up some of his design projects. He humored me on this, slapping up a wonderful book about Pinocchio he’d made. I would very much like him to send his art out into the world. We’ll see if he does. I don’t want to make his profile about my wishes. That would make me his hacker!

Later that afternoon he got a message from Mrs. McGuire. Susan had dropped some cookies off and Nate wrote, on his own, a lovely thank you. “Mrs. Maguire, those were the best cookies ever!!” Jimmy then quizzed Nate on a Simpsons character, which Nate got easily and used as a little segue.

Nate KatzIt’s Disco Stu! And remember, the Simpsons’ 23rd season (2011-2012) premieres on September 25th!

Jimmy Seidita I will mark my calendar.

I wasn’t sure that Nate would return to Facebook without prompting, but Karen reported he’d been logging on, sending updates on what he was watching on TV and new school bathrooms he’d visited.

While we all desire that our kids strike their own path, I’d like nothing better than to have Nate conform to the norm. I hope he’s on Facebook all the time, and that he reconnects with old school chums and makes those “friends” who come his way via shared interests. He’s lucky to live in a world where his weak in person social skills can be ameliorated online.

He’s out there. Nate Katz is on Facebook. Reach out to him, but I make no guarantees. I have no idea what his policy is on accepting friends.

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About Jeff Katz

Jeff Katz is Mayor of Cooperstown, the “Birthplace of Baseball” and home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. His latest book, Split Season:1981 - Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball, (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015), received national attention, with coverage appearing in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Sporting News and NPR’s Only a Game, among others. Katz appeared on ESPN’s Olbermann and The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap and MLB Network’s MLB Now, with Brian Kenny. Split Season: 1981 was a finalist for the 2016 Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year.
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