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Nina In New York: Babies Are No More Boring Than Anything Else On Facebook

(credit: TED ALJIBE/AFP/GettyImages)

(credit: TED ALJIBE/AFP/GettyImages)

A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York.
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By Nina Pajak

If you are of a certain age (read: mine), you are in all likelihood on social media. And assuming you are, I’d put even money on the fact that your newsfeed has been taken over by fat little bald people who drool and poop and sleep all the time.

The babies have landed. And they have taken over our computers.

For a long time (and still to some degree), social media was like wedding central. Engagement announcements, planning updates and gripes, photos of bridal showers and stand mixers and bachelor/ette parties and flowers and dresses and bridesmaids and groomsmen and enough dancing druncles to fill a football field.

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Then came the baby in the baby carriage. And in the hospital, pre-de-gooping. And sleeping on mommy. And sleeping on daddy. And sleeping on the floor, in a crib, in the car. And playing in the pool. And blinking. And crying. And spitting up a little. And smiling (or passing gas). And staring at something. And staring at something else. And in the high chair, covered in strained peas. And during “tummy time.” And sitting up! And lying down. And at grandma’s house. And with all of mommy and daddy’s friends. And holding a beer bottle—oh, ha ha, just like daddy, maybe in a couple of decades!

For some people (according to The New York Times, bitter hipsters, all), this has made the Internet unbearable. They don’t care. Worse, they’re offended. They’re unpleasantly reminded of the inexorability of a settled, domestic, dullsville future that closely resembles their parents’ pasts. So a couple of enterprising guys have created Unbaby.me, an application which effectively filters out all progeny-related posting, allowing us childless young folk to return to the riveting content which has made social media so satisfying and entertaining up until all of our friends started spawning.

Like, a picture of a burger. No, I mean, I realize that sounds dumb. But it was, like, an epic burger.

Or, okay. Bad example. Like an instagram photo of bespoke rosemary cocktails. Wait. How about a in-joke status update that makes no sense to 90% of a person’s friends and followers? No, that’s not right. An album consisting of 217 photos from a person’s vacation? A foursquare check-in at a pub near your friend’s office? A shared link to an article about gun control, followed by a completely inappropriate argument taking place in the comments section among 40 different people who don’t actually know one another?

Ah. Well. When you lay it all out like that, nothing sounds particularly thrilling anymore.

The fact is, when distilled to the social media posting level, none of us are all that interesting. Maybe a handful of people lead fabulous lives and share stimulating updates which awe and inspire them. But for the most part, we’re all sort of boring. At least, we’re boring to the general public. When one of my good friends posts a picture of a burger, I’m genuinely interested in her burger-eating experience. If it’s important to her, it’s important to me. If another friend attends a wedding or throws a party or gets wasted and takes a dozen drunk photos and uploads them on a Saturday night, I want to see.

We are already subject to updates regarding our friends’ relationships, stomach contents, drinking habits, commutes, daily whereabouts, travel plans, birthday celebrations, failures, triumphs, weddings, friends’ weddings, brand loyalties, gaming preferences and scores, favorite TV shows and sports teams, nights out, nights in, fights and frustrations, jobs or lack thereof, and musings on everything from politics to religion to nothing at all. Literally, sometimes people talk about having nothing to talk about.

So what makes babies less interesting than all the rest of that crap? When my friends have baby photos to share, I want to see them! When someone I’m less close with has baby photos to share, well to be honest I sort of want to see those too. But after photo number 58 of 700, I feel I can probably stop.

This is social media, people. It’s friends and acquaintances and friends of acquaintances sharing a constant stream of minutiae about themselves. Sometimes it will be wonderful. Sometimes it will make you want to barf. Most of the time, it will be dull. You may listen if you so choose. It’s not like the baby itself is on there and causing you to stifle your self-expression.

That being said, there is one caveat to my position. There are certain status updates which, once read, cannot be un-read. I feel that all posting regarding diaper explosions in any level of detail be restricted or possibly even banned. Aside from losing my own lunch, think of your kids, people. Stuff that goes up on the internet lives forever, and one day your baby will be an actual person. Imagine how you’d feel if your mom put the contents of your baby book online. Not cool, parents. Not cool.

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Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.

 Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.

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