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Overexposed

August 2, 2010

There’s no doubt that for almost anyone today, it’s easier than ever to share a lot of information about yourself online. Between popular social networking platforms like Facebook, blogging platforms like WordPress or Blogger, micro-blogging platforms like Twitter, photo sharing platforms like Flickr and location sharing platforms like Foursquare (whew), the right to privacy is increasingly one we’re choosing to forsake.

For all of the platforms mentioned above there are options to keep your information more close-hold, by protecting it with a password, for instance, or only sharing with certain friends. But those options generally require some work on the part of the user. The default is “open” and for platforms like Facebook, they’re actually building their business model banking on the fact that people want their information to cast a wide net into cyberspace.

As a five-month pregnant lady, I have to say that we see no better example of the push to go public than pregnancy. From popular forums and message boards such as Pregnancy magazine or The Bump, to posting weekly photos of your growing belly on Facebook, or blogging for your baby, pregnancy is something that was once considered pretty private, but is now increasingly public.

I, personally, kept a pretty tight lid on our pregnancy news. My husband and I didn’t really tell anyone about our little one until we were a whopping 14 weeks pregnant. And although we’ve had several ultrasounds, I’ve decided that unlike most of my friends, I’d rather not post photos of my uterus for the world to see. (My husband questions the need for my sudden modesty when it comes to the world seeing my insides, but I consider it for the sake of my baby’s privacy, as well as my own). And while I’ve been known to pose with a piece of fruit next to my fully clothed pregnant abdomen, I doubt I’ll be sharing any belly baring poses online (although I suppose one should never say never).

Now, don’t get me wrong – I love those ultrasound photos and think bump photos couldn’t be cuter. I just know what my personal privacy settings dictate – and they don’t allow for posting any of that sort of thing online, anywhere, no matter the platform.

I’ll agree with the Mark Zuckerbergs – I do believe today’s younger generation is more comfortable than ever sharing most of the details of their lives with the world. But I do think that individuals need to carefully consider just how far they want that default opening to be, and should also take special care when exposing their children to that world – before they’ve even had a choice to decide for themselves.

I hope friends, family, and pregnant mammas don’t take offense or stop sending me those cute baby pics – I love those! But I do hope they’ll take the time to make sure they’re comfortable with what their current default privacy setting is for life, and for the life of their child. And if it’s open, great. But if it’s time to turn the setting back a notch, take the time to do it. It’s all about being comfortable and confident in your own skin, outside in the world and online.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 2, 2010 8:16 pm

    Lindy – I love the topic as it’s one that I think we all should be re-visiting from time to time. As you can imagine, I’m in a similar boat, although I’ve taken a decidedly different approach with my upcoming addition :). We’ve got a Twitter account (www.twitter.com/babyradick) for her and she was even on FedNewsRadio already (http://www.federalnewsradio.com/?nid=150&sid=1945138). However, despite our different approaches, I think we’ve gone through the same steps – I thought about what I was comfortable sharing and what I wanted to accomplish and then that’s what I did. I figured it was an easy way to keep family/friends updated on what was going on and gave me an opportunity to have some fun with it too. I think it’ll also be a fun thing to show her once she’s old enough to understand.

    Ultimately though, I think it’s a personal decision for everyone – it’s all about doing what you’re comfortable with and then doing that well.

    • August 2, 2010 9:55 pm

      Thanks for commenting, Steve! And tell @babyradick to keep the posts coming! 😉 You’re clearly an educated user and I know you and your wife have talked about what you will and won’t post online – which is exactly what should happen. Happy pregnancy!

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