Miss Rose has a Facebook presence. A massive one. I post photos of her daily and constantly write about her. My entire Twitter account and blog are both dedicated solely to writing about her. She can’t even eat solids yet has an online footprint greater than many adults.
When we had our 12 week scan and announced her existence to the world her very must baby photo was published to Facebook. And so it began.
I have very mixed feelings about doing this. The selfish side of me loves posting these pictures and videos and boring everyone with tale after tale of her latest development which I find both fascinating and incredible but I’m fairly sure others consider newsfeed pollution. The more aware side of me is worried about it. I have time and time again written about the importance of allowing her to make her own choices in life. How I don’t want to impose my beliefs on her life so she can live it in a way of her choosing, but at the same time I am taking away any option from her over whether she wants an online presence. Her face is out there and there is no turning back. Once something is online it’s there forever. I’ve taken away that choice.
It’s not just me who does it and every day I love reading about the progress Jake is making in his potty training, admiring Maisie’s latest vintage outfit and laughing at David performing funny songs. I love finding out that Cohan loves Disney and Noah slept for three hours whilst Poppy slept for twelve. All these beautiful new lives already being lived online.
Worry about my choice though I do, if it weren’t for my friends publishing these photos and stories to social media then I wouldn’t know about them. My friends are spread across the globe and through the power of social networking I am able to be involved in however small a way in their lives. I’m able to enjoy their children and share experiences and concerns. My friends and family are able to keep up with how Miss Rose is doing and even if they hardly ever see her in real life don’t feel cut off from her, and I don’t feel cut off from them.
When people I know go on a rant about the evils of social media and how it Facebook stops you having relationships with real people I have to laugh. From my sofa in my little house in my little village miles from our nearest little town I am able to build and develop relationships. I am able to maintain contact with friends and cousins I am only able to see in real life very rarely due to distance or circumstances yet we are involved and they know my daughter.
Ultimately whether we like it or not social media is here. Whether you’re signed up or are boycotting it, Facebook is having a huge impact on our lives. Twitter is a valid form of communication. It is happening and it is changing how we interact and you can either get involved or let an entire swathe of society and community pass you by. Miss Rose will grow up in a world where the Internet is massively important and she will grow up understanding it and being involved. No doubt she’ll be proficient with the iPad before her grandfather. She will consider being online and communicating with others this way to be totally normal, and I hope having an online presence will to her be to be expected.
I have taken this acceptance of social media and pacified my anxieties. Should she decide she does not want to be online then I will absolutely respect her wishes but until then I am able to maintain a social life with friends and other parents without having to face the terrifying spectre of mother and baby groups. Am I totally comfortable with what I’m doing with her photos and the World Wide Web? No. Do I currently feel it is worth it? Yes.
You can check out all my contact info an links on http://www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also http://www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and The Boy (Jonathan McKinney) and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to http://www.patreon.com/sirenstories.
Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!