For a long time my maxim for personal social media use has been ‘a dignified silence.’
Yeah, I have Insta and Facebook, but I use them more for staying connected to friends and family / lurking in a deep, dark pool of envy than I do for sharing life goals and the like.
Nothing against people who do like to post the minutiae of their lives online. I just prefer not to. I’ve been perfectly content to diss content, you could say.
But then I had a kid. Suddenly a filtered lense was lifted from my eyes. The miracle of creation was bestowed upon my wife and I in the form of, objectively, the most beautiful baby ever born in the history of the Earth. And I wanted to share every moment of her development with my all and sundry.
“Here’s her first smile.”
“Here’s her first roll over.”
“Here’s her first reaction to me telling her individual ego is an illusion and that we are all part of the greater universe experiencing itself subjectively.”
Ok, maybe a little too soon for that, but look how fucken’ cute she is!
Each day is a battle for my thumb, hooked and hovering over the latest photo of her on the roll, trying to not press upload. You know the feeling. And there’s nothing wrong with it. Your child is a miracle of creation too, so it’s natural to want to share.
But are you doing you and your kid a disservice by plastering their every giggle and toot online?
To begin with, there’s the scary facts. A UK study found that, on average, 973 photos are shared of a modern-day child by the time they turn five.
Whether you’re @napkinapocalypse or just a regular every-day social media user, what sort of digital identity are you creating for your kid? And is it going to be fair to them in the future? Isn’t just giving them a shitty hipster name enough?
Then there’s the downright horrible chance of their images being stolen and used for nefarious reasons, which to be quite honest, I don’t even want to entertain here. Suffice to say, you can Google them, and people are fucked.
Finally, in our disposable world, where the lines between public and private are becoming increasingly blurred, don’t you think it’s important to keep some things sacred?
Sure, take a million photos. Print them out, chuck ‘em in an old school album, and use them to bore the hell out of any sucker unlucky enough to walk through your front door.
Carry the best one in your wallet. Shit, even go old school and send your friends and family an email.
But think twice about uploading scores of your innermost memories onto the servers of social media platforms you have little to no control of, despite what their privacy settings tell you.
There’s more to life than the muted recognition from the network of extended family and semi strangers that make up the majority of our social media followers, and it’s not worth the Faustian pact you make with the Zuckerbergs of this world to do so.
And really, if you’re going to be sued by your own kid when they turn 18, you’d at least want it to be for something cool, like naming them Fonzy.