I’ve been mulling this post over for a while now, but GOMI’s latest front page blurb motivated me to finally put pen to paper (well….keys to board?).
Oversharenting (v.): the act of obnoxiously spamming social media with every mundane detail of your child(ren)s life.
Root words: oversharing and parenting
Synonyms: every mommy blogger ever
Antonyms: our parents generation
As we inch closer to our due date, the topic of sharing future parenting stories and photos is in the forefront of my mind. Here’s the conundrum: I’m a social media whore. A crack fiend for Facebook. and Twitter. and Instagram. and blogs. and… and… and… I freaking love over-sharing stupid details about my life. Does anyone care that I ate 3 cookies last night or my opinion on this week’s episode of Parenthood? Nope. Do I put it out there anyway? Um YEP.
But, and this is a giant but (not to be confused with my own butt at 8.5 months pregnant, which is also quite large), I feel weird about doing the same thing with our baby. Now, I see my own hypocrisy here. For all intents and purposes*, I write a pregnancy blog…one where I’m guilty of over-sharing on multiple occasions, so it only seems natural that I’d flow into the world of parenting. Yet, the more “real” this kid becomes, the more protective I feel over her privacy, identity, and future digital footprint. In hindsight, I regret even sharing our name choice on social media because it’s “Google-able” now (if that’s even a word?). At 15 weeks, she was still a dreamy idea to me so it didn’t seem like a big deal, but she’ll be here soon – her own person with her own rights. Did I encroach on them already? Sure, there’s the argument that I’m her parent, which comes with its own unique set of rights to her decisions…but what does that really mean? Do I have the right to put her diapered butt on blast to people across the Interwebz just because she’s too young to ask me not to?
From a purely sociological standpoint, I find the entire topic to be pretty fascinating. There are plenty of opinionated articles and editorials floating around cyberspace on children’s privacy issues and social media, but as this is a relatively new phenomenon, there isn’t a lot of real research on the long-term effects this sort of (over)exposure has on children as they morph from those cute, chubby-cheeked pumpkins on Instagram into awkward teenagers and then full-blown adults. I know it’s a different world, different generation, yada yada yada…but I think of my own struggles with adolescence. Kids can be cruel enough to one another without years of a parent’s social media exploits to fuel the fire.
So I guess the question becomes: how much is too much? Where do we cross the line from a proud parent sharing an anecdotal tale or funny photo to “oversharenting” and exposing more than we should?
I imagine this is only going to get trickier for Sean and I once Miss C is born and looking all sorts of adorable. I can already admit that it’s going to be hard for me not to Insta-spam her every waking moment…especially when I’m home alone on maternity leave or doing those lonely middle of the night feedings. Social media has brought some wonderful people into my life that I otherwise wouldn’t have met and it continues to be a valuable wealth of resources and community for my unending stream of inane questions and commentary. I don’t want to turn my back on that, so hopefully, much like our other parenting decisions, we’ll find our groove and figure out something that works for our family.
As for the direction of my blog, I can say with certainty that I will not be a mommy-blogger. I will not be sharing breastfeeding struggles, potty-training techniques, or any of our daily adventures. Instead, this blog will likely focus on all the other parts of my life – getting back into shape, running, cooking, baking, trashy reality TV, and humble bragging cleverly disguised in self-depreciating humor.
For those that have gone a more private route – I’m thinking about setting up photo albums for family/friends through either Dropbox or using the iCloud Photo Streams since they are invite-only. I’d love to hear any positive or negative experiences with either?
* updated: MOMENT OF SHAME: I originally had this written as “For all intensive purposes”. Should we just revoke my BA in English and Master’s degree in Publishing? Stick me in a hole filled with Healthy Living Bloggers to die a shameful death? I can’t even look at myself right now.