Sunday, March 21, 2010

mommy internet

I've started to think the Internet is not for people like me. Maybe I should leave.

Before I start to think this out in words, let me preface by saying the following:
- I LOVE baby photos
- I LOVE playing with babies
- I LOVE my friends with babies, and I LOVE their babies
- I think babies are very, very cute. I'm in the camp of people who do not believe there is such a thing as an ugly baby. Nope, they're all cute.
- I am very happy for my friends who have babies, especially those for whom I know just how long they dreamed of motherhood
- I think cute stories about cute children are funny

However, the last few days, when I've opened my facebook homepage, I have been presented with a series of status updates about children and babies. Cute things the kids did, a few photos of very cute kids, and some updates on pregnancies. Each one of those updates had a minimum of five comments, often a dozen or more - they were popular! (I don't like playing the comparison game, but my status updates rarely get five or more comments.)

Furthermore, I noticed that most of the comments were by other mommies - the experience presented in the update connected with the commenter somehow, and therefore: a comment! This is natural and I'm glad that mothers all around the world are able to connect on the basis of a shared reality. (And I can't really be surprised that they didn't have a personal connection with my recent experiences of earthquakes or Indonesian villages, and I'm happy for them that they didn't have a personal connection with the rats living in my ceiling or the flying cockroach in my bathroom.)

It's not just facebook, it's also the blogs I follow. The more active ones are about one of two things: writing and mothering. The writing blogs are authored by a combination of two demographics: full-time writers whose job is to write, and professionals in the publishing industry. Those publishing industry guys have roaringly popular blogs, with mad commenting activity, and I figure that's because it's a writing community - people love to write so blogging is a natural fit, and the ones who are full-time writers have the professional obligation to devote themselves to these blogs. The mothering blogs have very cute photos and even cuter stories. They're great, but they speak of a reality as exotic to me as I'm sure my reality is to them.

And this did make sense to me. My friends who are mommies often seem to find that baby responsibilities and the Internet make a fine combination. For example, I have thoroughly enjoyed skyping with my sister-in-law and reading her blog ever since my nephew was born, which I could rarely do when she was a working non-mother woman. In comparison, I get on facebook, peruse the updates, give my own update, then get back to a life which leaves me struggling to find the time to write these blog entries.

But then I wonder, if most of the people I know who are interested in blogs and facebook are mothers (or fathers), and the main social networking happening in social network sites are based on the reality of parenthood. Then maybe I don't belong on the Internet anymore.

Am I thinking about this all wrong?

p.s. somehow, so far, this phenomenon is not at all true of the twitter feeds I follow. I wonder what makes twitter different.

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