Let me tell you, there is something both awesome and totally terrifying about sitting 2 feet from a pro like John Hockenberry while he’s grilling you. Emmy voters? Fine choice. The man is masterful. As is his co-host Celeste Headlee. She needs some more shiny trophies too.
So why was I there? Well in part because my friend Danielle recommended me. (Thanks Danielle!) The topic was about parents who put their children out for the world’s scrutiny for our own gain, and there were some assertions as to whether bloggers loosely fall into that category.
Some probably do.
So I’ve spent the last 12 hours or so thinking about the differences between what we do here–sharing photos of our kids and their first teeth and their first haircuts and relating stories of how they confuse mushrooms for marshmallows–versus what families do when their kids are on Wife Swap or The Trainwreck Formerly Known as Jon + Kate.
My knee-jerk reaction: It’s soooo not the same thing. Not even close! Man, are you kidding me? Pfffft.
Now hm, let me figure out why.
A lot of people on twitter last night had great thinking about the distinction, notably so many of you who described yourselves as being your own writers, editors, producers, with final control over the story that goes out to the world. It’s true that describing the moments in our day after they’ve happened, after some reflection, is a whole lot different than letting it play out live for cameras with the goal of creating the most dramatic tension.
In other words, there’s more reality on this here blog than on any so-called reality show. Maybe not as much tension but eh, what can I do.
Also I really liked what @trouttowers said: I skew the facts about my children unapologetically. Producers do that too, but not as friendly-like
Because that would be true too.
Actually, the whole discussion is kind of refreshing. It’s been so long since I heard the “are you exploiting your kids when you blog?” line of questioning. Mostly it’s been all about swag.
We all make different choices about what we choose to share about our kids online, how much and for how long. I would generally like to give individual parents the benefit of the doubt that they know their kids and their communities best, and that they make (or try to make) the decisions they think are right in any given circumstance. But at some point I believe, as I said on the show today, that as our babies become children their stories become their own. They have their own identities and their own reputations and there comes a point that some of their private moments are their own to share at some point, should they want to.
(Of course my hope is that my girls will never share a single thing online with anyone, ever. And I have a great plan for that: I’m going to sit here, with fingers crossed, and wish really really hard for the internet to implode.)
I already see a difference in what I share about my girls now that Thalia’s four. I don’t want to humiliate them (too badly). I don’t want to create problems for them. I don’t want to reveal anything here that I wouldn’t share with their entire preschool class live and in person.
But what I will defend until the end is that I share about them. And I will continue to do so. Because that’s what writers do.