One evening not too long ago I was invited to my mother's house for dinner, and prior to sitting down, I flipped on the TV, which happened to be rerunning a classic episode of the great series Seinfeld. The sheer absurdity of the plotline and the dialog had me cackling uncontrollably, while my mother sat there impassively shaking her head.

She didn't find it funny. Somewhat disappointed, I told her to give it a chance. Five minutes later, her opinion, sadly, had not changed. At this point I became a bit annoyed. Who, I wondered, would think an argument over who paid for "the big salad" or being threatened by the humorless "Soup Nazi" wasn't funny?

I finally just told her she was too old to get it.

To my amazement, she agreed. She was of a different generation, where people like Ernie Kovacs were heralded as side-splitters.

Since Seinfeld was too far forward for her, I have consciously avoided bringing up the subject of social networking, especially when she asks how her granddaughters are doing or what they've been up to. Trying to explain the difference between a tweet and writing on a "wall" would be an exercise in futility.

To be honest, my knowledge of social networking, as shallow as it is, was sort of gleaned osmotically from my children. Not surprisingly, as the father of offspring who, like so many others of their generation, seem to be almost freakishly imbued with an aptitude for all things technological, I quickly became inculcated in the dizzying rise of the social networking wave.

It's not that I'm inept on that level. After all, I can negotiate both a PC and a Mac, and for good measure have even figured out a Blackberry. I have also signed up on Facebook both personally and for Accounting Today, as well as on Twitter, though admittedly I have yet to actually "tweet." I've surmised that if even my children regularly ignore me, I would probably struggle to generate legions of followers in breathless anticipation of my next tweet.

Nonetheless, social networking has secured an immovable toehold in the accounting profession, something that even three years ago would have been somewhat difficult to envision. Not the least of its usage is in the area of recruitment, where innovative firms have deployed a number of social networking strategies that allow users to find out more about their firms, as well as interacting with potential recruits.

My own Facebook page, for example, received 25 "friend" requests upon its inaugural unveiling, from many of the folks in the profession with whom Accounting Today regularly interacts.

I doubt I'll ever be as comfortable (or skilled) with the medium as our younger generations, but I do recognize that it's a part of the accounting landscape that's here to stay.

Perhaps I should encourage my daughters to help out a bit more around the house by threatening "No soup for you!"

Or maybe that should be "No Facebook for you!"

Now that's funny.

(c) 2009 Accounting Today and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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