Yes, you read that right. No, she didn’t have some weird delivery complication or medical condition, she was tweeting, as in, posting on Twitter. You know, that fun little social networking site where you can instantly alert all of your “followers” of your every thought and move (in 140 characters or fewer, of course). And when the tweeter (or eh hem, is it twit?) is none other than Twitter CEO’s wife and baby mama, the tweets were heard ‘round the world. Maybe given her husband's job title she had no choice, but this feels like a new low.
Although, this is surely not the first birth story to grace the twitterscape. In fact, the joy (trauma?) and gritty details of personal childbirth stories and videos are all over the Web, not to mention reality TV. But even though the social networking craze has taken over the Internet as being everything from a fun way to connect with friends, to an ingenious marketing device, it has also made us question the line we draw between personal privacy and interpersonal communication. Sure, telling our stories and day-to-day ups and downs is a way for us to share in the human experience and gather strength, advice, support, and even a good laugh now and then. But it can also be an addictive distraction (I’ll never understand people who update their status while on vacation. Put the computer down and enjoy it!), and makes you extremely vulnerable to the world’s peering eyes.
When I gave birth to my daughter 8 months ago, I was not able to let my friends know right away, because there were complications and she was in the NICU. Only a few family members heard the news, and I wanted to keep it that way until we could breathe a sigh of relief. But before I knew it, I was getting texts of congrats: “Saw the news on Facebook!” I couldn’t believe it. You only have your first child once, and it is the news you want to be able to personally share with your family and friends. You want to make that phone call shouting her name (and weight, and length) from the rooftops. But apparently someone had done that for me. It was then and there that the “hate” side of my love/hate relationship with Facebook was firmly established.
I believe that there are some things in life that are so intensely private, so personal and sacred that you want to immerse yourself so deeply into the moment and grab onto it so it will somehow last longer. Childbirth was one of those moments (hours) for me (um, despite the fact that I had a baseball team’s worth of people in the room with me). I can’t imagine, in the moments before hearing that first cry and seeing those tears of joy and wonder in my husband’s eyes, being compelled to reach for my phone to let the rest of the whole world in. Not to mention, I think the world would thank me for sparing them the details.
What do you think? Do you twitter (follow us here!)? Where do you draw your privacy line?