I finally saw the documentary Catfish the other night. In case you missed it, it’s a creepy/fascinating true story about a dude in NYC who strikes up a relationship with a family of rural Michigan artists over the web and falls in love with the 19 year old daughter, only to discover that (SPOILER ALERT!) he was actually corresponding with a St. Bernard puppy the entire time!
Jk on that last part… I don’t want to ruin the movie for you. It’s actually worth seeing, if only to put in perspective the more disturbing pitfalls inherent in our Tweeting, Flickring, Facebooking, Brave New Bloggy World. The film wigged me out especially since I just started this blog, and I’m still determining what the heck I plan to do with it.
Yes, I devised DoubleFab to chronicle — among other things — my adventures as a new wife and mom. And sure, I hope to appeal to a readership beyond my circle of friends and acquaintances. If you’ll allow me an over-earnest moment, I genuinely like the idea of building community on the web. I’ve benefited from reading the blogs of indulgently candid strangers — picking up useful parenting advice and perspectives, a sense of camaraderie, or at the very least, a welcome breather from the daily grind.
On the other hand, some common parenting blog practices rub me the wrong way. For example, I have an irrational disinclination to post pics of my unborn child on the internet. I say irrational because I can’t clearly explain why this feels so off-putting to me. I’m proud as peaches about our adorable ultrasound pics, and I forwarded them to a long list of friends and family over email. And when my friends post their ultrasounds on their Facebook pages, I honestly love pouring over the shots and trying to figure out if the little guy has her nose and his chin, or if that’s just a roving umbilical cord.
But when it comes to my own pics, I balk. All I can say is there’s something weird to me about a baby popping up on Facebook before he takes his first breath on planet earth. He’ll have his entire life to grow a Google tail — the least I can do is spare him some privacy in utero.
Extending that logic forward, I have major mixed feelings about how much of my child’s life to share on this blog. Given my warm and fuzzy feelings for his fetal glamour shots, I know I’m going to think he’s the cutest baby on the entire procreating planet. And I’ll probably start to feel like it’s my parental duty to share his preternatural good looks with the world. But! What about that roving band of dark and sinister Internet cliches: the Online Perverts? Forgive me my motherly anxiety, but The Online Perverts are real! They happened to this mother! Or potentially some of these people!
Even if your digital data escapes the clutches of the Pervs, you still have the Random Weirdos to contend with. And there’s absolutely no predicting what the Random Weirdos will do with your child’s photos once they’ve found them on Google; their motives range from innocent to bizzarre. For example, a schizophrenic could appropriate your entire Facebook cadre as her own, a la Catfish. (Shucks! I gave it away). Or some rando could turn a pic of your son in a yoda costume at Halloween into his blog banner.
In the most extreme cases, your baby could go viral, turning your kid into an international icon in Japan and a tattoo on David Beckham’s torso, as infamously happened to this Gainesville, Florida father. (In a cinematic twist, that dad works as a an information technology expert at the University of Florida, and he’s blasé enough about web culture to take it all in stride).
You can blame my conflicting feelings as a budding mom blogger for why DoubleFab is so all over the map in terms of content so far. It’s one thing to share roast chicken recipes, and quite another to live blog your baby’s birth (although by some definition, I suppose both qualify as fair mom blog fodder). I’d love your thoughts on what you’d like to read as I continue to document this ride, even though given my predilections I’ll likely fall on the more conservative end of the spectrum.
But lest you feel cheated out of juicy domestic secrets, know this: I’m not really a Bay Area mom-to-be. I’m actually a St. Bernard puppy.