Before I put up the depressing Sandy Hook post everyone knew was coming, I wanted to put up this post that I’d planned to run on Friday because it’s tied to some thoughts I’ve had about the blog in recent weeks. I should begin my diatribe by saying that the blog isn’t going anywhere, even though I took a week off from posting. I’m still sitting on a crapload of new submissions, and there are many mommyjackings and crusades in our future. That being said, something is shifting in the climate of overshare. I get regular emails from parents who say, “Can I post [X] as my status update, or will it wind up on your blog?” They’re sincerely asking because the definition of overshare is always changing, but for the most part, I think it’s actually changing in parents’ favor.
My personal definitions of “overshare” haven’t changed much, but other people’s attitudes seem to have. If anything, it’s possible that my ideas about overshare are becoming dated. I’m like an old granny shaking her fist at cervix dilation updates. The word “desensitization” comes to mind. I’ve actually come to expect to read comments like, “This turd post isn’t nearly as bad as that other one!”, or “Hey, at least they didn’t post a picture!” or even, ”At least she didn’t misspell anything.” On a post featuring an aerial shot of some kid’s poop in a toilet, people will actually commend the poster on his or her grammar. I’ve also read several comments by readers (here and on the Facebook page) that use the word “desensitized” to describe their reaction to some of the arguably grosser posts. People have started looking at certain updates in a new light, and what used to be considered “extreme overshare” might now merely summon a “meh.” We’re entering a new phase where placenta pics may occasionally inspire more organ appreciation than nausea.
In addition to that, 2012 has been the year of parents’ resistance More than ever, people are committed to NOT changing their posting habits, so if you don’t like what they have to say, feel free to unfollow/de-friend/burn some sage and that’ll be that. No one is concerned with what others think, even if what they’re thinking is, “Why is there a picture of a baby crowning in my newsfeed?” It’s a headstrong approach to social media that shows we’re not getting more considerate of our friends and followers, but rather more thoughtless. Why should you care what Suzy thinks about your pictures and updates? Screw Suzy! It’s as though people have become “empowered” by their ignorance in order to justify their posting habits. But it also beckons the question: What is “overshare” anyway? If everyone - not just parents - treats social media like a free-for-all, why should parents withhold their poop pics? (Or so goes the thinking.)
One somewhat surprising thread involved ultrasound pictures. I posted an article about how Shakira and her boyfriend shared their ultrasound picture, and several people commenting said the pictures aren’t overshare, which wound up inspiring last week’s Mommyish column and this post. I’ve always thought of ultrasounds as the gateway drug to overshare, because they’re usually the first personal picture(s) a person posts related to parenthood (other than pee stick and Prego pics). The seal has been broken, so to speak, and parents can make way for sharing other, more daring pictures in the coming months. However, they’ve become so common on Facebook, most parents probably share their pictures because everyone else they know shared theirs, too. A lot has changed in the past few years.
Even the ultrasounds themselves have changed over the years, with the scary 3D pictures becoming more popular than the cute lil 2D ones. It’s hard to remember when people just posted a single 2D ultrasound picture, isn’t it? That’s some prairie shit.
Most of the ultrasound submissions I get now are pretty different from this one, and the basis of this post is just to say that overshare shouldn’t be defined by a single type of update. There are several ways to post about something, and one way might not be classified as overshare as much as another. To back up that claim, today’s post includes five different ways to post about ultrasounds. Sort of like “five ways to wear a scrunchie" or "five ways to make ramen,” except not.
1. 3D Ultrasounds
We’ve seen several 3D horror scans over the years, and now we can add Brittany’s baby’s picture to the collection. I’m not saying that individually these pictures aren’t interesting or sweet (to a person’s family and friends). But if you were to print out every example from the blog and compile them all in a photo album, it’d be pretty fuckin’ freaky-looking.
2. Sexualizing Fetuses
I mentioned this type of photo update in the "Sexualizing Kids Online" posts, BUT this is the first time I’ve seen a baby’s genitals used as a banner pic. Well done, Jessica, especially considering the Timeline cover photo is the only one you can’t adjust from public view. Whoever searches for Jessica over the next several months WILL learn that she’s pregnant with a girl, lest anyone be confused or unaware.
And now, the exact same view in a different room. Or something. That sounds awful.
Can we honestly expect a man named Richard not to make dick jokes about his baby on Facebook? How would that be practical?
In all seriousness, people should stop calling attention to their fetus’s developing muscle aka "dong." It’s disturbing.
This is a submission I don’t think I’ve posted before, but I’m not entirely sure. All of the baby genitalia starts to look the same after a while, you know? Although this one seems particularly unfortunate, like we’ve just caught Margaret’s son in the middle of his morning sit-ups. Can’t a fetus work out naked without being exploited on the internet?
3. Talking Fetuses
This submission was so large that I had to do a little surgery on it. First, read the comments:
Sounds pretty cute, right? Everyone is very excited. And yet not a single mention of the fact that Katie’s baby can already read and write.
I think Katie made this picture herself and is therefore wishing herself a happy birthday from her baby on Facebook. “‘See U Later’” is my favorite part. Such a hip little baby. No punctuation needed.
This file was also too large and had to be posted in two sections. I knew you guys wouldn’t want to miss the final 18 images.
See what I mean? Those last 11 were absolutely essential to the album. You’re welcome!
5. The Future Of Ultrasound Updates
With sites like Pinterest around, why not get a little creative with your next ultrasound photo? Project it onto your pregnant belly, or hey, project it on the side of a mountain if you really want to get your baby the kind of press that he or she deserves. It takes a bit of extra planning, but the number of “Likes” and “Pins” you’ll get will be quite impressive. It’ll also make for a great story when the little one is born, and then later, when he or she has children, and they have children, the story can be passed down through the generations.
Don’t forget to read my column on Mommyish and check out the comments section. Peeps have some thoughts on this subject!
(submitted by Anonymous)