My father has a Twitter account. He has it installed on his Android tablet (which he keeps at home) and on his phone (but I hid the app on there so he wouldn’t have to deal with it). My father and I go through tweets on his tablet and I tell him when he has to reply to certain things. Sometimes I even type out the replies for him. I admit it; I do check Dad’s Twitter account every other day or so to see if there’s anything he needs to address because he hasn’t totally warmed up to the social network. We have only looked at Twitter on his tablet. To my knowledge, the phone app had never been opened by anyone besides me.
I don’t know why I decided to send a tweet to my Dad last night. I could have emailed him. I could have texted him. I could have called him in the morning. I did none of those things; I sent him a tweet. My little tweet said:
In the world in which my father and I live, that’s big news to us. We follow NHL scores, injuries, trades, and standings very closely. We talk out different scenarios that could happen to other teams that would affect our team, the New York Rangers. It’s quite a complicated matter, especially now that we’re in the final push for the playoffs.
I spent some time with my sister and nephew this afternoon, even though I’ve been sick with a terrible virus and feeling pretty awful. I KNEW that I was with them for a little over an hour. When they left, I opened my laptop and checked my Twitter account. I saw I had some mentions so I looked at them and there was a tweeted response from my Dad sent an hour before. It was one word:
Several thoughts went through my mind:
- “Did I send that tweet? Did I go into Dad’s Twitter account and send a simple reply to myself? Is it possible that my low-grade fever is affecting my memory and I have no recollection of going through Dad’s tweets? Why don’t I remember this? Wasn’t I busy an hour ago? I had his tablet in my hand but I REALLY don’t remember opening the Twitter app. I only did a quick search in Google. Right? How is it feasible that I don’t remember doing more than that?” This scared me quite a bit.
- “Was Dad hacked? Why would a hacker send such an appropriate tweet? Maybe it’s a very well-behaved hacker who’s going to impersonate Dad. Should I change his password? That doesn’t really make much sense, though.” I looked at my Dad’s tweets from my own account and the tweet to me was the only one sent today. There weren’t any spam tweets. There wasn’t any suspicious activity. A hacker didn’t seem likely. THEN…OH MY GOODNESS…
- “Did Dad actually find Twitter on his phone, figure out how to open it, check his mentions, and send a reply?? That’s far-fetched. That can’t be. There is no way that Dad opened an app besides theScore (that you see opened in the first photo in this post). He doesn’t know how to find apps. But…could it be that he somehow accidentally sent a tweet from his phone?”
I sent a quick text to my Dad:
“Dad, did you get a message from me saying that after trailing 3-0 heading into the 3rd period, the Isles scored 7 to defeat the Canucks 7-4???”
“Yes, I thought I answered you but I guess my message didn’t go out. That was crazy. 7 goals in one period!”
“It did go through…as a tweet!!!!!! You just accidentally sent your first tweet from your phone!!!!!!!! I thought someone hacked your account!!!! We’re going to have to be careful now. I’m going to have to show you what’s texting and what’s Twitter. I’m very proud but a little scared.”
“I knew I sent a tweet. That’s why my answer was so short.”
“OMG, I’m even more proud. Wow!!!!”
Truthfully, I’m astonished. Just the other night, my father asked me to fix the volume on his phone. The volume! The week before he told me that the travel book he was reading on his tablet was very good and then added that he wasn’t exactly sure if it was a book or Wikipedia. Now he’s sending tweets and he’s completely aware that he’s sending tweets?!
My mother happens to be in NYC today with friends. She’s seeing a show and going out to dinner. I reminded her not to drink. For those of you who don’t know my mother, an “exciting” drink for her is Diet Coke instead of water. I felt like I had to tell her to be safe anyway, though, because she is going to be with a group of friends and you know how people can get in groups. I’m worried about my mother driving home alone at 11PM, probably how she spent countless nights worrying about me.
Now my father is sending tweets and exploring social media by himself? Does he know the consequences of this? I’m going to have to sit down with him and make sure that he really knows the difference between Twitter and texting. I’ve written about parents having talks with their children about social media use before and I feel like I need to have that conversation with my Dad. My father and I are very reasonable hockey fans but hockey talk sometimes gets a little rough and colorful. I’d hate for any of that to accidentally go out as a tweet.
I’m sure Mom won’t drink (or rather, drink irresponsibly). I trust her; it’s her friends I don’t trust. Oh, how many times did I hear that from my mother when I was younger? In all seriousness, Mom will be fine. I felt it was right to remind her to be careful, though. Dad is another story. I’m definitely going to have to tackle this one immediately. You may be thinking that this isn’t a concern but it is a concern because I don’t even know if Dad realizes that tweets are public. We all know someone who’s accidentally sent out a tweet and later regretted it. My father might understand social media better than I think he does but I don’t want to risk it.
Ohhhh, a daughter’s work is never done…