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?
About me: I'm 42 and added another gherkin to our pickle party of a family. My husband Chuck, our 9-year-old Junior, our 6-year-old Everett, our toddler and I live in a town in Connecticut I affectionately call Mulletville Lite (aka my childhood hometown). My friends call me Nutjob, and they're right. In my husband's spare time he dresses up as a Viking and chases ghosts (and I'm the nutjob?). When I'm not busy working as a graphic designer, I lie in a ball in the corner.