A blog is not a baby album and never should be

Baby's Blog

First of all, a big ‘thank you’ for everybody who commented on my previous post. The interest in freelancing and coffee shops goes to show what a prominent role these two seem to play in the lives of bloggers and blog readers. Just for the record, my post wasn’t written from a coffee shop, but I do recommend the Fleet River Bakery as a fabulous example of a local independent (I think?!) coffee shop with free Wi-Fi, and also Lori’s blog as a fabulous source of many more musings on the topic of coffee and culture.

Not sure how to make the transition to today’s topic. How about… there’s a day in each freelancer’s life when he/she sits in a local independent coffee shop and suddenly decides, “Let me become a parent”. No more 3-months contracts and moving from one flat to the next, but rather taking on that 9-5 position in a PR department and investing in some Zone 6 property. I can’t say ‘been there, done that’, but I image that’s how it goes down.

Now, the point is, when you become a parent, there is one thing I would kindly ask you not to do, ever. Do not put up a public blog about your little offspring, no matter how cute it is. Some web 2.0-embracing parents may think that a blog is just the 21st-century form of keeping a baby album, but it’s not. Neither is the baby’s own Facebook profile, before it can even stand up by itself. Just to be clear, I completely understand the parents’ pride and the relatives’ unceasing interest in the toddler’s latest advancements. But don’t put it out there on the web.

I’m saying this in the interests of the child. In its early years, it’s fairly incapable of letting the outside world know whether it wants its pictures on Flickr and Facebook or not. Just in case it doesn’t want that shot of him playing in the sandbox up on the web, parents shouldn’t put it there. And that’s not just because the kid might feel embarrassed about its baby fat some 10 years down the road, but because you never know who looks at public web content. So until the little thing can actually move around the mouse himself, keep it private.

Apart from such privacy issues, there’s of course the chance of baby-promotion-overkill. Again, I cannot being to image how proud parents are of their baby, but I feel that there’s a limit to how much you should show it on a public blog. Something nice and simple with a few family pictures or first walking attempts for grandma to see is fine. But creating some 24/7 live stream of the child is not. My favorite so far: a blog written from the point of view of the baby: “Today, I took my parents out for shopping and cried so loud that they bought me the candy I wanted…” Incredible.

4 responses to “A blog is not a baby album and never should be

  1. Take a wild guess

    I would’t know who you’re referring to… But hey, apparently you’re still reading it so you’re not allowed to complain.

    Other than that: Word. A couple of baby pictures on your own profile are acceptable. No nudity, though – we don’t care how nicely they fill their diapers. Also leave some time in between, show real progress. To us they all look the same – just like my pictures of the gazillion soccer games I visited.

  2. I would be the first to agree that over exposure to other people’s children (no matter how cute) gets annoying. I beleve that there is some reason to transfer parents with their baby’s picture as their FB profile pic to their own site: ‘Babybook’

    But this is nonetheless not the most serious aspect of this. By making your child public online, there is the risk that his or her picture is picked up by someone you absolutely wouldnt want to even look at it. Those who supply paedophiles with pictures are for instance known to photoshop and replace the face of children on the pictures they deal with, in order to sell them more than once.

    So, I think it’s important to be careful- for the obvious reason of paedophiles, but also to remember that a baby is not a blog is not a baby is not a blog etc…

  3. I am not a mother so I can’t say that I know how proud and madly in love you are with your child… and I think is amazing that you can share all the moments, especially for the fragmented families and people that is not near to you, for the grandparents in other continents, or you school friends around the world. Yes, web 2.0 helps to come together and that is the point, right? Not just to show the world how wonderful your child is, is also make them part of your and your baby’s life. But there is other ways, more carefully ways to do it, especially for those that don’t have the right to choose to be publicly exposed. That happens for example with my own mum and Facebook, she don’t know that my brother post pictures of her and if my brother is not respectful or careful enough her students can see her open presents for Christmas at home in her pajamas… and as she is not on Facebook she has no idea and then not the right to choose it, and honestly I don’t think that she likes the idea! The same and worst happens with children. They don’t know now, but they will later when they Google their names and find that embarrassing naked pictures that we usually hided in our own homes (come on! No one except your parents cane be proud of that). My way? I used private online pictures websites, when I can decide name by name who is part of that and not assume that the 300 ‘facebook-friends’ are part of that circle.

  4. I couldn’t agree more, Seb, thanks for the post.
    I think blogging and Web 2.0-exhibitionism should be for serious grown-ups like you and me only :).

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