Another time-honored part of parenting is showing the latest pictures of their son or daughter to friends, family and anyone else who look at them. Bringing stacks of pictures to summer cookouts, Thanksgiving dinner and cornering coworkers in the company break room is part of the tradition.
It’s been this way throughout history—you can trace it back to the caveman. The paintings on the Lascaux Cave walls were primitive baby pictures. Visiting guests endured an hour or so of the latest images of Junior before settling down to a meal of sautéed wolf paired with a nice Sauvignon Blanc. White wine served with red meat—now that was primitive.
Pilgrims arriving at Plymouth Rock, brandished selfies and baby pictures taken aboard the Mayflower. They shared them with members of the local tribes during the first Thanksgiving Dinner and a tradition was started.
Technology improved over the years, film was replaced by digital cameras and Al Gore invented the internet. Then came the iPhone, turning everyone a photographer. Before you can say selfie stick a new phenomenon was born—social media.
It started with MySpace, the social media equivalent of the cave painting. Before long it was replaced by Facebook and Twitter. Soon distant relatives and complete strangers were posting, tweeting and pinning the most intimate details of their lives with reckless abandon for all to see.
Talk about building a better mousetrap. Facebook and Instagram gives users a virtual means of cornering family, friends and virtual friends, with the latest family pictures that are draining the storage from their iPhones. It’s found a home for all those blurry, underexposed iPhone images of today’s lunch, the latest pictures of their dogs or cats, and their children’s everything.
I always said I’d never be one of those parents whipping out and showing off baby pictures to anyone within site, whether they wanted to see them or not, before I became a parent. According to (multiple) family members that ship sailed long ago. So far there’s been no intervention, yet.
Cristian is a Social Media Baby—he was born in the Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/You Tube era. His birth announcement was posted on Facebook and Twitter. Since we have family and friends (real and virtual) all across the Americas and Europe, it was the best way to get the word out. He’s had iPhones or digital cameras in his face literally since birth.
I’m a Stay at Home Dad who blogs—sites like Facebook and Twitter is essential for promoting I’m Not Grandpa. Blog posts and social media posts are made with an eye towards not embarrassing the baby. Cheesy pictures of him could have repercussions. He’ll probably be taking care of me in my golden years and payback is a bitch.
Many fellow bloggers are careful regarding their children. Pseudonyms replace their children’s names and some are careful regarding how much they share because you never know.
The flip side of the argument is this. Facebook has allowed me to keep distant relatives in Spain and not so distant ones on Long Island posted on all things Cristian. Esther and I are amazed at how many follow our posts. In November she took the baby to Puerto Rico, giving family members a chance to meet our newest addition. She was surprised how many told her they checked their feeds daily looking for new pictures and updates.