By Michael Stodola Special to Published Dec 08, 2007 at 8:56 AM

OK, I admit it: I'm an old guy -- slightly out of touch with the youth who boogie on the MTV. And compared to the majority of people registered on Facebook and, I, at age 42, am almost elderly.

So, when I first walked into this new and mysterious world of social media, namely Facebook, I was a bit intimidated. But once I registered, threw some photos up and got some friends going on, I felt comfortable and "in" with the cool kids.

However, the reaction of a few peers was less than supportive. One person saddled Facebook with "infantilizing our culture," another added to that notion by simply calling me immature. My response, of course, was to call them "Poopy-heads" and to make fun of their mothers.

Maybe their critique stemmed from their fear of the new or perhaps they just made hasty generalizations about the unknown. Whatever the reason, it made me think about the relevance of their comments.

Are these sites -- and social media for that matter -- all about "me, me, me?" "Look at me!" "Look at my crazy photos." "Read my blog." "Aren't I fun?!"

My answer: Um ... for some, yes.

For others, social outlets such as Facebook hold a great deal of value. In a world shattered by thousands of TV channels, the Internet, ease of travel and the explosion of video games, maybe folks just want to get a little "village" back into their lives. Maybe through these sites we're creating families. Giant, immature families. But, it not only takes a village to raise a child, it takes one to raise an adult.

Now, you'll always have those who exploit the media -- Republicans, for instance. And sure, Facebook and MySpace have their fair share of people who feel the need to self-promote. But why the hell not? If you lower your own ego for a moment, you'll see that these people are simply trying to be loved -- trying to do right for themselves. If you train your ear, in any social setting for that matter, people will tell you exactly what they want. And psychologically, on a fundamental level, we're all driven by these needs. (There's a little Advertising 101 for ya.)

So, love them or hate them, these sites add to our conversation. And much more than sharing photos or "sending someone a hug," Facebook, for instance, offers features such as ABC News, business profiles of local companies and voter registration. So, check it out, look me up and PLEASE BE MY FRIEND!

Michael Stodola Special to
Michael Stodola is the Creative Director at Boelter + Lincoln – a Milwaukee advertising agency. He loves his job, but not as much as he loves scuba diving, crab cakes or playing with his kids. His favorite thing is sneaking off for dates with his hottie wife. Born and raised in Nebraska, he’s been calling Milwaukee home for well over 10 years. After Michael’s impending death, he’d like to return to this world as your next American Idol®.