There was no way she was serious.
“Please tell me you’ve never actually seen someone post a pic of their baby’s turd, and that it was just a joke on ‘Friends with Kids,’” I typed on a friend’s Facebook post last week. “PLEASE TELL ME THAT. ”
She didn’t. She couldn’t. A Facebook friend had indeed shared photographic evidence of baby’s digestion on the site, she said. And she’d about had it.
One out of five Americans unfriend contacts on social networks over excessively political posts, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project. But how many drop friends when their posts become excessively … Mom?
I still can’t believe it, big belly and all, but in about 13 weeks the M word will apply to 5-foot-2, could-still-get-a-Happy-Meal little me. I’m beyond excited, but when it comes to what I share, I’m self-conscious and cautious, which is weird. Pics of my belly go out only to a small group of family and friends. No one’s heard about our stumbles through childbirth class, our tough decision to switch to a midwife or our ever more creative search for a boy’s name Jason will actually love — with available URL, of course.
And when I do post about how I miss sushi, how baby’s kicks feel AMAZING or how grateful I am to my mom and mom-in-law for the work they put into the shower last week, I stare at the words for a minute or more before I hit publish.
Is it too much? Is it too weird? I don’t want to worry about it. I SHOULDN’T worry about it.
But this is more-dogs-than-kids Seattle. This is a demographic giving birth in their mid-30s, if at all. These are friends who ask, only half joking, “You’re not going to become a mommy blogger, are you?” If I broadcast ALL the ways my life is changing, will it change more than I want, sooner than I’d like?
These aren’t easy questions. But Facebook, bless its addictive little heart, is making sure I ask them early and often.
Over the past several weeks, my feed has gone from a news/geek summary from mostly Seattle friends to a nursery of baby updates from wherever Facebook can find them. That loud, skittery girl from my sociology seminar. An ex’s sister who just had twins. If a newborn was praised, coddled or photographed in some dusty corner of my social network, it is the first thing I see when I open Facebook in the morning. Along with “Aw!” inducing confessions like this: “I don’t want to be THAT kind of parent, but I can’t help it. [So-and-so] is the cutest baby ever!”
I click them, “like” them, show them to Jason and wonder if WE should do a newborn photo shoot before I shake my head and realize what’s happened.
As a machine, Facebook is just doing its job, reading my interests and serving content to match. As a force of our new social nature, though, I can’t help but think it’s nudging me to share this part of my life as openly as I’ve shared others. That it’s proving there are people in my network who can relate — there’s one! And there, another, closer than you thought! That it’s reconfiguring my community as I reconfigure my life. With my complete, if conflicted, cooperation.
There are places I know I won’t go, just ’cause it’s not me. I’m not making my baby’s picture my avatar. I’m not starting a Twitter account for the fetus. I doubt I’d drown friends in the hundreds of baby pictures I’m sure Jason and I will be drowning in ourselves and — ew! — I can’t imagine what demon could possess me to admire, let alone post a picture of, baby’s first turd.
Before I was pregnant, baby posts felt cute and adorable and loving, if distant. I’d sense their joy, smile and move on.
Now that I’m counting every stroller, toddler and bulbous belly that passes me by, they’re reassuring (and terrifying) sneak peeks at the biggest single change in my life, and a new role that — hehe — scares the crap out of me.
So by the time baby arrives, figuring out how much or little to share had better be quick.
I’m pretty sure it’ll be the least of my worries.
Mónica Guzmán is a community strategist in startups and media and a digital life columnist for GeekWire. You can find her tweeting away at @moniguzman, subscribe to her public Facebook posts at facebook.com/moniguzman or reach her via email. See a list of her clients on her website. Also see this archive of her weekly GeekWire columns.