Friday, June 8, 2012

To Tweet or not to Tweet....

A few months ago, I read a blog post by one of my favorite online writers, Jon Acuff. He writes the blog Stuff Christians like, which is often very funny and sometimes surprisingly filled with wisdom.  For instance, I love how he says that frisbee is God's favorite sport, and he pokes fun at Christians for hating Harry Potter, but loving The Lord of the Rings.

This article, however, was different. It seriously made me think, and I've been thinking about it for the last several months.

To summarize, his 5 year old daughter was doing something adorable, and he wanted to take a picture of her. She told him "no," and when he asked why not, she replied, "because I don't want you to tweet it."


My son, Denver, is the cutest little thing I've ever seen. I love taking pictures and videos of him and sharing them with my family and friends. I love bragging about him and how he is so strong that he climbed out of his crib when he was only 17 months old. Or how his "older brother" is his dog, so he prefers to have his bowel movements in the backyard, because that's obviously what big kids do.

And right now he is 21 months old, and would run up and down the street naked if we let him, because he is incapable of being embarrassed or bashful.  But that won't last forever. What about when he's five? Should I still be posting every cute and funny thing he says and does?

And what about when he's twelve? Or sixteen?  Can you imagine in the hallway of his middle school...

Juanito: "Yo Denver, I heard you wet the bed last night!"

Denver: "What the heck! No I didn't! Why would you say that?"

Juanito: "Dude, your mom tweeted it. EVERYONE KNOWS."

As Acuff writes in his blog,

"I also honestly think that when my friend Carlos shared his son’s adoption story on his blog, he and his wife sent ripples online that touched thousands of lives and inspired countless adoptions.
There is great potential beauty in the things we share online. But most of us never stop long enough in the midst of the fire hose that is social media to admit that there is also potential danger.
We don’t have it figured out yet. We don’t have 100 years of precedent to fall back on. We can’t say, “Remember how Roosevelt handled social media with his family? What can we learn from his actions?” If the internet is a teenager, then in many ways social media is a toddler. We’re all just trying to figure it out. And I don’t want to figure it out on the backs of my kids."

I know that as I was growing up, my parents were very intentional about never publicly humiliating me. Even when I was disobedient they were respectful to me, and lovingly handled any situation in the privacy of our home. As an adult, I see the way that my parents' respect for me helped to mold me and shape me into who I am today, and I have a great deal of respect for them in return. I just fear that publicly sharing so many details of my son's life isn't showing him that same courtesy.

Anyway, I'm just not sure what to do.  I have good friends who don't use facebook, or have a twitter account, or blog. They just live peaceful lives with their families, unconsumed with what everyone else is doing all the time. This is becoming more and more appealing to me.

Is there some kind of happy medium though? Maybe keeping my facebook account, but closely monitoring what I put on it about my son? Or changing the settings on this blog so that only certain people can read it? Or closing the blog down all together and just occasionally emailing funny stories/pictures to close family and friends?

These are my thoughts and concerns for the upcoming months and years. I warmly welcome any suggestions or comments.