Monday, 3 December 2012

To Share or Not to Share? That is the Question.

It's been quieter around these here parts since LB came into our world, but it's not for lack of time to blog. I can carve time out, if I want to.

I started this blog as a means to keep family and friends up-to-date with our Swiss adventure, and have purposefully just kept this blog a place where I can log on and type a fast and loose post about what's up, then hit publish with nary a proof-read. Fast and loose, you see. Sometimes too fast and loose, hence my continual need to double punch the 'o' when loose lose (DID IT AGAIN) is my intended word. I think if any of my professors would tune into this blog they would shake their head in sadness over the poor sentence structure, bad proof-reading, comma usage, and general wordiness. Then they'd wonder how I ever did so well in my writing intensive classes. I wonder this, too.

In my illustrious blogging career (SARCASM) I have been asked to blog for different expat sites in exchange for them highlighting my blog to generate traffic, I have been asked to blog for a local expat newspaper in exchange for blog traffic, with the real high point in this blog's life being an email I received from House Hunters International asking if we'd be interested in being on the show because they read my blog and we seemed 'fun'. After I got over the hilarious idea of being able to afford a house in Switzerland, I wrote them back and pleasantly declined.  I have never been interested in my blog being a job (or being on t.v., talk about an exercise in breaking out in full body hives...shudder). I already have a job and I don't need this place to be a chore.

So let's be real for a minute: if you have a blog, you can't claim 'it's just my journal'. Bullshit. If you wanted a journal, keep a journal; people blog because they want other people to read their words. They want to share their experiences with someone. It's, ultimately, fairly narcissistic to think other people are interested in your life so "blah, let me regurgitate a whole bunch of shit about my life and hope others tune in. I'm so interesting people will care when I tell them about that chicken salad I ate at Coop that had a suspicious looking cranberry in it." Blogging is about sharing your life with strangers, and who the hell knows who's reading.

The reason I bring this up is because with this space always being just for personal story telling, I'm struggling these days with what to share now that LB is in our lives. I heard a quote once that went along the lines of "no one over shares like a mother." I didn't really get this until I started reading 'mommy blogs'. Good grief, but yeah. People have put their kids' private childhoods on display, and I don't know if they've thought through the ramifications. I've read parents who blog about their kids' struggles with anxiety and bullying and they identify the child by name; I've read parents who blog about their kids' bowel problems; I've read parents who blog about how their three year old is an a$$hole. Yes, an alarming number of people have called their toddlers a$$holes and it seems to be a funny/accepted description. But are these kids going to be cool with the fact their parents posted open letters to them online for strangers to read? Are they going to be cool with their parents having left a toddler sized digital footprint, for them?

Dan subscribes to Wired magazine, and it introduced the term 'oversharenting' to describe people's need to blog about their kids' personal lives. One rule that some parent-bloggers subscribe to is: 'I'm only blogging about little Johnny until he's five, then his stories are his own.'

How poetic.

But why is five the magic number when little Johnny gets to claim ownership of his own stories? So those previous five years, they aren't his private stories because he can't talk, walk, or read? Children aren't possessions, and I don't believe that their babyhood belongs to their parents to pimp online for traffic and subsequent ad revenue. Some of these quasi-successful 'mommy bloggers' get pissed when they are labelled as such, but go back through their archives and they're called mommy bloggers because whether or not they're still talking about their kids now that's sure as hell all they talked about before.

I don't mean to alienate anyone with the above, but kids/blogs is something I felt strongly about before and it's something I've had to reflect on now that I've got LB.

Maybe you believe I'm over thinking this. Maybe you think the majority of 'mommy bloggers' (or whatever else you want to call them) are telling harmless tales and they provide a great online community for parents. Okay. I will concede that some women have been very open with their struggles to adjust to the different phases, challenges, and questions of parenthood, and I think a lot of people read their words and take comfort they're not alone. I'm not opposing that. Online communities can be sources of great support. What I'm specifically uncomfortable with are the people who over share the personal details of their kids' lives.

And I'm sharing this with you because I don't know what this means for my blog. I don't have plans to say 'Juuuiiicceee' or 'Auf Wiedersehen' I'm just trying to figure out what's my line in the sand for talking about LB. She's who my days revolve around now, so she's the majority of my stories, but I record these stories in a personal, handwritten, journal I'm keeping for her first year.

This post is not intended to make me sound like the saviour of my kid's privacy, but I do think she's entitled to privacy. So this blog is not going to be a place where I talk about her that much and if I do it's because our family has been up to something and duh, she's part of the family. But exclusively talking about just her? It's not going to happen a lot. This blog has always been about my life, and even though she is a hugely important part of my life, I'm not comfortable sharing too much about her.

One day when she has her own messy and poorly edited digital footprint, I want it to be one that she made herself. Not one that I left for her.


T said...

I agree with you on not wanting to share every little detail of LB's life online. It drives me crazy to see "potty training" updates (pictures included) on Facebook! One of the beautiful things about you keeping a journal for LB separate from this blog is that she'll have something special to read one day and know that it hasn't already been read by a bunch of strangers that she hasn't even met before!

I do enjoy your updates and pictures though, please don't give up entirely!

mom said...

I agree with T Cait. I really look forward to your blogs and you can email me personally with pictures of LB :-)))