Monday, July 26, 2010

I'd show you an actual picture of the penis cupcakes, but you and 600 "friends" have probably already seen them

In the good ole days, if someone brought a camera to a party and snapped a photo while you were popping a zit or scratching your ass, you didn’t have much to worry about. What was the worst that could happen? They’d develop the unflattering photo and put it in an album? Oh no, not that.

Even if they passed the photo around, you could at least grab the photo and destroy it.

There was an “Oh, shit!” moment, but it wasn’t debilitating.

Now, thanks to Facebook, everything has changed.

Case in point: Sunday was Junior’s birthday party. My 14-year-old niece, who’s my friend on Facebook, brought her camera. To say that she’s active on Facebook is to say that Miley Cyrus is kind of a poor role model. My niece updates her status every 10 minutes.


“Looking out the window.”

“Blowing my nose.”

Every time I turned around at the party she was snapping a picture. I’m not (totally) vain, but I’m pregnant and lumpy and it was 95 degrees with 100% humidity. I was chasing toddlers around. I was cramming food in my mouth. Eva Mendes would have had a hard time looking good under those conditions.

All I could think was “Fucking Facebook! Every one of these pictures is going to end up there.”

I was right. Last night, I signed onto my account and had 45 notifications that I’d been tagged. Forty-five! As I looked through the photos though, I realized something: I wasn’t as much bothered by the fact that my sweaty puss was plastered all over Facebook as I was that Junior’s face was. Chuck and I don’t like his image all over the Internet. It’s why I don’t post hundreds of pictures of him on this blog or on Facebook.

Part of me says, Relax, Mrs. Mullet. My niece loves Junior. She wanted her friends to see him. And really, what’s going to happen? Plenty of people post pictures of their kids online, and I haven’t seen any Dateline specials on the disastrous outcomes.

“Child blowing bubbles viewed by 2,000 people! May be viewed by even more! Tune in tonight.”

My own cousin created a blog after she moved to Oregon so her family back East could keep up-to-date; it features tons of pictures and personal information. She enjoys sharing her life on her blog. She told me I should do the same.

If only she knew.

Then the other part says, Enough! Enough with the cyber ejaculating. Privacy and delicacy have ceased to exist, and no one seems to mind. My co-worker posted the visiting hours for her brother’s funeral on Facebook. I’ve been invited to weddings, alerted to deaths in the family and learned the intimate details of people’s divorces (along with everyone else, I guess). It’s gotten downright creepy. Call me old fashioned, but if Uncle George croaks I’d like a phone call, not a RIP status update.

And back to Junior's Facebook debut: Shouldn't I get to decide if someone else can post pictures of my child, who happens to be a minor? I'd hope someone would ask permission before they put up a billboard on Interstate 95 with his name and mug shot; isn't it kind of the same thing?

Yes, there are upsides to Facebook. It’s easy to stay connected to friends and family. If you’ve friended your ex you can look through his photo album and revel in the fact that he’s got two chins and married a woman who looks like a man. It's nice keeping up with Vag. But some days it feels like too much. Too much sharing with an entity that has a lot of gray matter. Why are we sharing so much? What are we looking for?

More importantly, couldn’t someone have told me I had artichoke dip in my teeth and that my arms look like a linebacker’s?


JoAnna said...

Couldn't agree with you more. I don't FACE, I refuse. I know this does nothing to keep pictures of me off the internet, but I still refuse to get sucked into the world of facebook. Strange since I do everything else tech related. I think part of me knows that if I did FACE, I would be the one putting up pictures I shouldn't be putting there and saying things I'm not supposed to and then I'd be in a world of doo doo. I already have debated a few pictures I put on my blog because I'm afraid someone will get mad. Facebook might have its upside but the world might just end over a facebook faux pas.

Frogs in my formula said...

Wouldn't that be the kicker.

brokenteepee said...

I refuse to post photos of my nieces and nephews. I figure that is their parents' right not mine. I will talk about them in a VERY generic way but I'm with you...somethings should remain unseen and unsaid.

Liz Wilkey (a.k.a. A Mom on Spin) said...

I never put pictures of my daughters on my blog. I figure that violate their privacy enough as it is just by blogging about them!

Lindy said...

You are exactly right...especially because you have no idea how your neice set up her privacy settings. If she allows "everyone" to view her pictures - then, indeed, "everyone" can.

Anonymous said...

I put an occasional picture of my kid on my blog. Of course, I'm also very (VERY VERY) vocal about how I hug my second amendment every day. So you'd have to have a death wish to try to do something to my daughter.

I always ask permission before I put someone else's picture on Facebook - adult OR child. And I don't put other peoples' pictures on my blog either.

The pictures bother me less than the status updates. You know the ones, "Took my 14 year old to the doctor today. Yep, she has the herpes." That's just no one's business.

Mama Badger said...

I'll put pictures of the boys up on the blog, but I don't use names. As for FB, I've asked people who I know have lax privacy settings to either adjust the settings for those pictures (they can) or take them down. It's one thing to use it to communicate with friends who live far away and don't get to see the boys regularly, but another for my nieces (just like yours) to go put it out there for the world.

Grand Pooba said...

Damn, I'll post any picture. Guess I'm not a very good "friend"

NHGirl said...

I'm 100% in agreement with you. I'm sure your niece is also a minor, so maybe it never occured to her to at least ask, but I think that's the proper thing to do before posting a pic of someone's kids (unless the parent ALREADY puts a million pics of them on their facebook). Of course, you can always untag yourself, but (and maybe I'm being a biatch) you might want to go a step further and ask her to take down all pics of Junior. Or at least set the album's privacy setting to only family or something.

MamaTech said...

Be careful - if you read the upload agreement closely, it basically says that what you upload to facebook BELONGS to facebook. I find this to be very creepy.

Having said that, I have uploaded pics before but left off the "tagging". And my privacy settings are pretty tight.

Getrealmommy said...

Great post, and so true. I recently got an unhappy email from a friend after I tagged her in a photo on facebook. It was a picture taken on a girls weekend in napa, i loved it. She thought she looked fat. She wanted me to remove it STAT, which I did. Funny how different things are in a digital age.

Jen said...

I want to see penis cupcakes.

I feel the same way. I don't like it when I get tagged in a photo and I am sure I would like it a lot less if it were one of my children, at least the young one, the big one can take care of himself at this point.

Jeanne Estridge said...

I signed up for Facebook specifically to score grandkids pix and now I'm excited to finally see what Junior looks like!

Keely said...

Yep, I agree. Hubby and I upload pics of our kid all the time to FB but we have our privacy settings maxed out. IN THEORY, nobody can see those pics except our friends. It still sketches me out a little.

And yes, I realize I put pics of X on my BLOG all the time. Somehow, a bunch of strangers seeing photos of him creeps me out far less than a bunch of "friends of friends" on FB.

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

Yeah, I'm never sure if I should put my friends' kids on our not and if I do I often don't take the person or put the child's name on there. I figure if we don't trust the people we have as our "friends" then we shouldn't put it on there anyhow. However, I do have a setting where I don't let some people see my photos...just to be sure photos of my nieces or other children aren't going out all over.

And yes, I think it should be your decision and if you are uncomfortable with it, I would ask your niece to take them down, or at least the tags. I know I've told family if I ever do that to make sure they tell me.

SmartBear said...

I couldn't agree more. And, I learned this the hard way. Long story short, I had my blog kind of...violated? I had always posted pics of my tot and myself and my Hubby. My blog is really personal. I realized though that personal with people you work with, or family is different than personal with people in London you do not know. It sounds strange but, I am more comfortable with the people I don't know.
Another blogger sympathized at the time because I was seriously thinking about how to do things differently. She said she posted photos of her kiddo all the time on her previous blog and then she realized "I didn't really ask his permission". That hit me pretty heavy. What if he gets older and is really pissed that I put pictures of him up on the internet? I didn't ask him if it was okay.
I do post pics all the time on FB. My privacy settings are set really high and I don't friend people from work or in professional circles.
I still find it a very interesting question....With all these blogs now, what will all the kids of these blogs have to say when they are grown?

Anonymous said...


Tarheel Rambler said...

"If you’ve friended your ex you can look through his photo album and revel in the fact that he’s got two chins and married a woman who looks like a man."

I'm a man, and I found this statement hysterical! But you have a point about how much information people put out there in cyberspace. It's more than a little frightening. I really don't put a lot of personal details in my blog or on Facebook. Yet there is probably still too much information out there.

Unknown said...

I could have wrote this post...but in this day and i didnt even have a REAL computer when i was in high school....everything and everyone seems fair game...I have been on both sides of daughter posted a very not so nice video of my nephew on FB my sister wasnt happy she called me I apologized then reamed my daughter a new one as she took down the video...
epic fail on my part as a mother BUT I blame it on the fact i didnt grow up with this technology!

Mrsbear said...

Facebook makes me a little crazy. I have times when I debate just deleting the account altogether and I recently stopped adding pictures to my albums just because out of the x amount of "friends" I've accepted, only about 5 are people who I speak to or care about, so why would I want to share any of my moments with someone I didn't even like 18 years ago when we were still in high school together.

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