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Monday, November 08, 2004

Baby bloggers...

...are no longer the brainchildren of only tech-literate parents. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, they're the new "mommy (and daddy) must-have," read not just by doting grandparents, but also by complete strangers. Of course, baby pix and milestones and parenting advice are still the mainstay of baby blogs. "The sites, with names such a 'Daddyzine' and "Bloggingmommies' "are this generation's baby books, although many bloggers also scrupulously record every burp, giggle and bottle in book form as well - which makes you wonder when they have time to actually care for the baby," the Inquirer reports, citing one expert as saying the baby variety has taken off faster than other types of blogs (well, maybe after US-based political ones in the past six months). What is clear is that, with the advent of blogs, or Web blogs, teenagers aren't the only age group making their private lives public. The $64,000 question(s) is: Is this a shift of thinking and behavior or, basically, a mistake? Do people mean to make the intimate details of their lives so public? Certainly, Anne Lear does (the mom whose blog leads the Inquirer piece). On the other hand, Martin Kelly, whose baby was threatened by someone who visited his baby page, would lean toward the mistake side of the question.

Part 2 of that question is: If people generally do want anyone to be able to access their psyches and lives, why? What is causing this trend? Maybe we always wanted to be this public but were only recently able to be because of the arrival of the Web and blogging tools that make it a cinch to put up a Web site? Any ideas, readers? Email me your thoughts at I'd especially like to hear from parents of teen bloggers!


Blogger Martin Kelley said...

Hi Anne,
Thanks for the link to my website. The Inquirer reporter took the threat totally out of context. My baby was not threatened because our lives are public and I don't think it's been a mistake to have the Baby Theo page.

I run a very visible and heavily used antiwar website. One critic followed links to the Baby Theo page and used his name to make a tasteless rhetorial argument. It was obscene and inappropriate but it was never a credible threat and I mentioned it to the reporter only to explain why I don't want my home town listed in the article. It was pretty disingenious of the reporter to say I was threatened without mentioning my controversial activism/ministry.

My baby site serves the same purpose as any other parental blog: it keeps us in touch with our old high school college friends who have scattered across the country and it gives our distant relatives a chance to see Theo grow up. The comments to the site are always supportive and always kind. Many of them are from other parents and we swap kid stories.

The baby blog isn't the opening up of the psyche--far from it! It's the chatter of parents telling stories at the playground and it's the opening up a picture album at a family gathering. I suspect that teen bloggers also just want to share their everyday stories. Blogs are even easier than zines, the self-publishing medium of my teen years, and I think this self-exploration and story telling is the heart of blogs all around.

12:27 PM  

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