If Facebook itself were a game to be won, it would be very difficult to determine the winner. It would be even harder to become the winner.
Here’s what I mean.
I would think that the true “winner of the game of Facebook” would be the person least perceived by their friends as a narcissist, yet somehow isn’t secretly a snoop.
Maybe I should create a Venn diagram? (See below.)
Let me just say, I definitely am no Facebook winner.
However, I don’t want to be identified as either a narcissist or a snoop… but if I outright deny that I’m neither, doesn’t that just prove I’m a narcissist?
Since last June, I have made a point to spend less than 5 minutes a day on Facebook- and my life has become better for it. (Narcissist comment?)
Basically, I’m usually on there just long enough each day to post pictures of our family, see if I received any new notifications, and take a look at a friend or family member’s profile if I’m wondering what they’re up to. (Narcissist comment?)
But even then, I could easily see how I could be perceived as a narcissist. I mean, seriously- everyday I post a new picture of you, or a selfie of our family, or a story about you.
To some, I very well could be that annoying guy who is perceived as trying to make it look like he has the perfect family and the perfect life, thanks to the stage of the everlasting talent show/high school reunion of Facebook.
While I’m grateful for what I’ve been blessed with, I quickly and openly recognize that my life is far from perfect. (Narcissist comment?)
However, I do believe in the importance in being a positive influence in society; which to some, can come across as being a show-off or self-obsessed.
And then on the other side of the spectrum, if I’m not a narcissist, am I a snoop?
If I’m not a person who is perceived as tooting my own horn all day with happy pictures and stories, am I instead the opposite- a person who is quietly snooping on everyone else, without giving out too much information about my own life? (Because that’s not fair, right?)
I wonder if I can get away with admitting that it can be very challenging to scroll down my Facebook feed without having some kind of judgmental thought about someone who is clearly crying out for attention; whether it’s a negative rant, a duckface selfie, or a “look at my awesome life!” update.
Full circle. Am I that happy narcissistic person? Or the snooping friend? Or am I simply both, by default?
I’m not good at playing the game of Facebook. I’m better off just sitting on the bench- throwing in enough sporadic comments and pictures that are positive and that don’t mention questions or comments regarding politics, religion, or food; that way I’m still contributing without oversharing and inviting people to unfriend me.
All I know is to keep doing what I do: Open the window to friends and family to let them see what is going on in my life, which is you and Mommy.
As of today, I have been doing this for exactly 4 years. That’s right- I’ve been writing to you, or at least about you, since April 13, 2010; which was 7 months before you were even born.
Here’s an explanation as featured in the About Me section:
“Back in April 2010, I decided I wanted to set a world record for the longest-running daddy blog in the world, beginning with the day the parents-to-be went public with the news they were expecting a baby. Nearly a thousand blog posts later, I write a new one nearly every day.”
Sure, it takes discipline and creativity to write a fatherly post 25 times each month (this is my 955th over all), but it’s one of the things in this life I do best.
Even then, my best isn’t always great. In the past 4 years, I have definitely written things I would later, and still do, regret. At the same time, those “regretful” moments also have served as important milestones in my maturity as your daddy, as well as a writer.
On the other extreme, I think it’s interesting to see what the most interesting things I’ve written to you are about. While my Top 10 Dadabase posts are definitely not my personal Top 10 favorites, the free market has decided otherwise, and I absolutely appreciate their opinion and input.
Just for the record, I have still yet to officially “break the 4th wall” and admit to you that these letters are seen by anyone other than you and me; today is as close as it gets for now. (It’s sort of like how on the TV show, The Office, they never really acknowledged the camera crew or the fact there were making a documentary until the final season.)
So to celebrate 4 years and running, 3 of them being on Parents.com, I now take a look at how my fatherly perspective most resonates with the general public:
To my surprise, my review of the recipe for “No-Bake Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls” is by far the most popular thing I’ve ever written. I only wrote it 2 months ago, yet it has now nearly doubled the number of views of the #2 most popular most, which was published nearly 3 years ago.
So I guess I need to review more vegan recipes?
Over all, just glancing at which ones made the Top 10 list, it appears I am most interesting and relevant when I am talking about our vegan (“plant-based”) lifestyle, morality issues, identifying as Generation Y parents, questioning the traditional norms of child discipline, being “cheap” parents, poking fun at the realities of trying to sleep as a parent, planning a child’s birthday party, and spotlighting cool news stories about parenting.
(Plus, putting numbers in the title, like “The Top 10 Dadabase Posts Of All Time: 4 Years And Counting”, seems to help too.)
I’ll try to keep these things in mind as I continue writing my thoughts as a dad in these “private” daily letters to you.
Have I ever had to apologize for a misunderstood satirical comment I’ve made in social media? Yes.
To publish a 400 word blog post 25 times a month puts me in a potentially vulnerable and dangerous situation. So I am trying to be compassionate with the people responsible for the current Clorox fiasco/social media nightmare.
After all, some people are having the worst week ever (!) right now and I would hate to come across as a bully.
So in order to explain what happened, I’ll start with the beginning… no, actually it would make more sense to start with the most recent part of the story. Here’s what Clorox posted on Facebook today:
“As you may have seen we recently removed a website article, ‘New Dads’, that was a part of a series of humor pieces on modern parenting. It was never our intention to diminish the important role of dads. The dad who wrote the piece for us actually was trying to poke fun at the caricature of ‘the hapless dad.’ To some of you it didn’t come across that way and we apologize. We’ve been talking with many of you throughout the day and appreciate the feedback.”
You may be wondering what the removed article said. Well, even though it was “removed,” I still found it, right here.
I do want to point out some of the article’s most offensive/bizarre lines. The most infamous and most quoted one is found in the introduction:
“Like dogs or other house pets, new Dads are filled with good intentions but lacking the judgment and fine motor skills to execute well.”
The article soon warns that new dads may put clothing on their child backwards and that “hip-hop fashions should wait a couple of years.”
Then there’s the weird line about exposing infants to reality TV shows, referring to the “colorful moving yell-box.”
And comparing an infant’s eating habits to “a spastic Harlem Shake dancer.”
Mmm… and then the reference to The Hangover movie… I guess:
“Casino: Some new dads have been inspired by raunchy comedies to bring babies to inappropriate places like casinos, pool halls, and poetry readings. None of these places are healthy for baby. If Dad needs persuading, just tell him that babies are terrible tippers and can never make bank shots.”
(I’m going to pretend I didn’t just see the phrase “poetry readings.”)
This Clorox story is viral right now because so many people see this thing as offensive. Sure, I totally see where they’re coming from. In fact, my friend at 8BitDad, Zach Rosenberg, points at why this “humor piece” is not sitting well with a lot of parents:
“The problem is that these toxic images and jokes at the expense of dads do a couple of things: they continue the ignorant thinking that only mothers can care for babies. These images attempt to widen the divide between moms and dads – where dad is forced to be one of the kids and mom is burdened with all of the housework. These images discourage fathers from being the best that they can be – hey, if Clorox thinks dads shouldn’t touch the baby, maybe we should skip the grueling newborn phase, dump the baby on mom and go hang out with our buddies? Where does that leave us?”
I totally agree!
At the same time, I personally struggle with finding the Clorox article to be offensive; mainly because I’m so distracted at the very bizarre attempt at humor.
Clorox is evidently currently protecting the identify of the freelance writer who wrote it, but I can’t help but get the feeling that the dad doesn’t have much experience blogging in regards to parenting.
I assume it’s common knowledge in the parenting blogging community that it’s beyond taboo to insult either moms or dads, as a group. Sure, you can make fun of yourself, as an individual parent, but not an entire gender; even in satire.
The tone of the Clorox ad is so literally unbelievable and unnatural that I actually wondered if it was an Internet troll that hacked the Clorox website somehow.
In their Facebook apology, Clorox proclaims, “To some of you it didn’t come across that way and we apologize.”
Well, uh… it’s just that usually there’s some kind of hint that something is satire, if it truly is intended to be. However, nothing about the article hints at being satirical… or more importantly, even funny.
I’ve spent the past 24 hours reading related articles (and comments on those articles) and I’ve yet to find one person who thought the article was actually humorous.
Is it offensive? Yes, to many.
Is it funny? No… in fact, it’s so awkward, I’m going to back away now while smiling and nodding my head…
I missed the Dad 2.0 Summit this year; which is basically the official annual conference for daddy bloggers.
Conveniently, The New York Timespublished an article on their website a few days ago, which does a great job of filling me in on the conversations that took place there without me.
While I wish I would have known about Dad 2.0 Summit beforehand, because I totally would have flown out to Houston to been a part of it as I am now marking my calendar for next year, at the same time it sort of sounds like the main takeaway from Dad 2.0 is the same point I have been writing about for years now on The Dadabase:
Dads don’t want to be seen as idiots who make messes and who are sub-par parents.
It’s subtle, yet very present in media. I feel that there are still too many companies getting it wrong. Allow me to critique the Robitussin commercial featured at the top of this post, for example.
Of this 17 second commercial, the first 2 seconds are done right.
We are introduced to a mom and dad who are together putting their baby to sleep. They lovingly look at each other as if to mutually say, “I love you and our new addition to our family.”
But then, from 0:03 to 0:06, the dad coughs, waking the baby and earning a frustrated and disapproving look from his wife. By 0:07, we see the dad give his wife a pat on the back right before he walks away to go grab some Robitussin for his cough, seen from 0:10 to 0:12.
There is some resolve by 0:13, when the dad returns, this time not coughing, as the mom is able to lay down the now sleeping baby in the crib.
Okay, so that commercial wasn’t horrible, but it needs some revisions to earn the respect of dads like me.
If they had to make it to where the dad coughs and wakes up the baby, he could have appeared to be less of a [jerk] if, when he came back from taking the Robitussin, he took the baby from his wife, allowing her to go back to bed, then putting the baby to sleep himself.
When you really consider the role of the dad in this commercial, all he really did besides just stand there, was that he made life harder for his wife.
And seriously, pause this commercial on 0:05. Check out the look on the wife’s face…
No husband ever wants to receive that look from his wife.
But when I see a commercial like this, I am not offended, but I do think, “There’s just another dad-bashing commercial feeding into concept that the housewife desperately needs another product because of the mess her husband made.”
Part of my passion as a daddy blogger is attempting to make it taboo for dads to be portrayed as the classic idiot in ads. I’m not even asking to be seen as the hero. I’ll take neutral at this point.
As predicted by the entire world and any possible life forms living on Earth’s moon, Huggies finally started pulling their “Ultimate Test: Dad” ads after a huge backlash in the sub-universe of social media last week. Today I read a blog article on HuffingtonPost.com by Lisa Belkin, who interviewed Aric Melzl; the brand director for Huggies.
The post ends with this Shark Tank type of warm wisdom from Melzl:
“Huggies is reponding to unhappy men, because those men have the ear of women. All of this, the initial campaign, the full-on response, is targeted at moms… I don’t want there to be any question about who we we’re going after.’”
Even though dads now make up 1/3 of stay at home parents, that doesn’t necessarily equate to men buying at least 33% of the diapers. According to the article, we’re worth about 5% in terms of actually buying them.
As in my case, I don’t buy the diapers because I’m waiting in the car with our son, who is taking his Sunday afternoon nap, while my wife is inside Publix or Harris Teeter doing the shopping.
Okay, I get it; I am commercially worth 5% as a parent.
To be fair, though, Huggies is simply the untimely scapegoat at the crossroads of “Surprise! Dads are more active now than ever in their kids’ lives” and “social media will not let you get away with that kind of stuff anymore…”. Plenty (!) of other companies have been recently dissing husbands and dads in their ads; they just might have been a bit more subtle.
In fact, in my post last week about this whole fiasco, I featured a video clip montage of several recent ads making dads out to be the classic idiot father; including brands such as Lysol, Hasbro, Cheerios, Benadryl, Febreeze, Naturemade, Stanley Steamer, Glade Sense and Spray, Uno Attack, Walmart, Orville Rendenbacher’s, Ortho, and Yellowbook.
Here’s my prophecy on this: Huggies’ faux pas will serve as a bookmark and a warning to any other advertising companies who dare to reach the mom market by poking fun at the dads, even if in the slightest and most innocent of ways.
This event has marked the beginning of the end of “dad jabs” in advertising.
Let’s face it: There’s now officially an army of daddy bloggers ready to out the next unsuspecting dad-basher. But on the flip side, we’re also always on the look-out for paternal praise from advertisers.
I wonder if the blessing of the salvation of positive dad ads is equal to the damnation of the curse of dad-jab ads?
Even if we dads never end up buying the proper percentage of a product to be marketable, we still have the power (via daddy blogging, Twitter, etc.) to take away from a company’s “cool factor.”
Considering how eager businesses are to get people to “like” them on Facebook, it’s pretty clear in this economy, and in this age of social media relevance, that being cool matters more than ever before.