Posts Tagged ‘ social media ’

I Take Couplies With My Kid… Don’t You?

Saturday, February 22nd, 2014

3 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

There is now an official word for the kind of pictures we’ve often taken together and put on Facebook…


A couplie is a type of self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a hand-held digital camera or camera phone, featuring two people; as opposed to just one person, which would be a selfie.

I have mentioned before, that since having you, I seldom get my picture made by anyone (including myself) if I’m the only one in the picture.

Most of the time, if I post a new picture that would have been a selfie, I take a picture of both of us instead.

Couplies are the new selfies.

Who needs to see a self-taken picture of a married, 32 year-old dad on Facebook? No one.

Who needs to see a self-taken picture of a married, 32 year-old dude with his cute 3 year-old son on Facebook? Well, now, that’s a whole different story…

Therefore, I’m familiar with taking couplies- sometimes with Mommy, but mainly with you. In fact, I went back through every picture I’ve ever taken in the history of The Dadabase, so I could make a collage of some of our couplies.

Then, I put a logo for “Nick Shell’s Couplies Photography,” as if I was promoting a legitimate business for taking selfies. (The font I used didn’t have an apostrophe… I promise I didn’t make a typo.) However, I’m not sure anyone on Facebook got the joke, though…

The main reason I like couplies with you is because I think it’s cool to see the growing resemblance between the two of us.

Granted, your lighter skin tone and blue eyes will always set us apart, but I love how each time we take a new couplie, I see the “father-and-son-ness” more and more.

I made this special “couplie collage” for us, as if the term “couplie” wasn’t already annoying enough.

Which, speaking of, both the words “selfies” and “couplies” greatly annoy me- and I assume the word “grouplies” is also on its way into social media/pop culture usage.

But if couplies is the word I have to use to document this fad in my time capsule to you.

And so we will continue infiltrating peoples’ Facebook and Twitter feeds with our couplies. If we really want to be cool, though- we would take a couplie while making duck faces.





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I Have Become A Lifesize Cardboard Cutout On Facebook

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

3 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

This letter was supposed to be a funny one about how I’m a typical dad in the way I hide your toys when you refuse to put them away when I ask you to.

But seeing that this is my last letter of 2013, I want it to have a more retrospective perspective.

So I’ll save my originally intended programming for next week and/or next year.

Instead, I can’t help but think of what this year, 2013, has taught me on this gloomy and rainy December night; letting this all soak in.

It’s been an interesting year for me in that it’s been like a dichotomy.

Three months into the year, I became a (new wave) vegan, which proved to take an epic psychosocial toll on me; yet physically and psychologically, I’ve never been healthier, and more at peace and in a state of gratitude.

(I have even sworn off caffeine for the rest of my life, as well; because I see it as the most unregulated addictive stimulant in the world.)

One of my favorite bands ever, Third Eye Blind, sings one of my favorite songs ever, “Motorcycle Drive By.” My favorite line of it serves as a bit of a motto to describe the private challenges I’ve dealt with inside my brain this year:

“And there’s this burning like there’s never been/And I’ve never been so alone/And I’ve never been so alive”

Before it sounds like I’m throwing myself a pity party, let me just clarify. I’m not alone. I have you and Mommy. I have family. I have friends. I have plenty of meaning in my life.

I have joy!

But there’s an undeniable disconnect that I suddenly became aware of during the weeks following my denying of animal products for nutritional sustenance. It was like cutting myself off from the rest of the world. I by default ostracized myself from what is normal in society. After all, I no longer participate in that historical human shared experience.

Then a few months later, for all practical purposes, I did something similar when I “quit” Facebook.

I went from spending a minimum of 30 minutes to 60 minutes a day scrolling through my Facebook feed, commenting and corresponding, and accidently instigating polarizing conversations based on my opinions that half my friends agreed with, while the other half didn’t.

Plus, I confused a lot of people whenever I used sarcasm.

So since June, I have made a conscious effort to spend only 30 to 60 seconds (!) a day on Facebook. Perhaps, in a sense, it’s selfish to my Facebook friends, but for this 2nd half of the year, the only news on Facebook I have known about is what shows up at the very top of my news feed; which is what the free market of my 960 Faceook friends decided was the most relevant that day.

After all, that’s how I found out about this amazingly stellar article, “Selfie Syndrome- How Social Media Is Making Us Narcissistic,” which is currently going viral.

It explains that, based on studies, “People who tend to use Facebook the most tend to have more narcissistic personalities or insecure personalites.”

That’s a weird thought… to be both narcissitic and insecure.

Well, in theory, that was me for the first half of the year.

No question- the second half of the year, sans Facebook dependance, was by far the better half of the year for me. I have simply been happier.

I have had time to focus on what really matters: you and Mommy. Being a dad and being a husband.

Without the two of you, who am I?

Just a bearded dude in a medium-sized funny t-shirt.

As for Facebook, I am now merely a lifesize cardboard cutout who smiles and waves, but ultimately, has no personal opinions.

Because like the idea of free speech, the “social factor” of social media is an illusion.

Anything I say or post in social media could come back to haunt me in my future career, and I’ve skated pretty close on that fine line this year.

But I’ve taken that extra 30 to 60 minutes a day that I used to spend trying to be clever on Facebook and Twitter, and instead use it on you and Mommy.

Here’s to 2014- the most realistic, unnarcissitic, most secure year I’ve never known- full of art and meaning.




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Never Talk About Politics, Religion, Or Food You Don’t Eat

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

2 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

I’ve decided that in addition to writing about the funny things you do and say on a daily basis, and covering trending parenting stories, I want to start teaching you “life lessons from dad.”

So here’s the first one:

I have learned that the topics of politics, religion, and food are so interwoven into emotions, moral beliefs, and sense of identity, that to bring up a point that goes against or even questions a person’s already established viewpoint…

Well, it often ends up becoming an insult, a threat, or a display of arrogance: It could put you in danger of being perceived as self-righteous or judgmental; even if you have the purest of intentions.

While it seems most people are familiar with the fact that politics and religion are sensitive subjects, I recently learned that the topic of “food you don’t eat” is equal in regards to one’s emotions, moral beliefs, and sense of identity.

But my opinion about these topics isn’t worth dividing people. I want to connect to people and make them feel included, and I’ve learned that openly talking about, or even just asking questions about, these three topics isn’t the way to do this.

So for the past month or so, I’ve been trying something out. I’ve been very careful not to use the “V-word” to label myself in regards to my eating lifestyle or the “L-word” to label my political beliefs.

And when it comes to speaking about my religious faith, I am trying to focus on humility, more than anything; which is one of the most important aspects of what I believe anyway. What good are my religious beliefs if my personal beliefs regarding politics and/or food distract people from my faith?

This is me trying to deliberately not perpetuate America’s polarizing tendencies, especially in social media. Both CNN and Fox News are pretty good at that already. I’ll leave it to the experts.

Regarding politics, religion, and food I don’t eat, I’ll let my viewpoints remain as much of a mystery as possible… until people specifically ask, or it works its way into conversation more naturally.

I want to earn the right to have these conversations with individuals, not broadcast my lifestyle across the universe to the masses like I’m the ultimate authority on these three sensitive subjects.

Here’s to finding out if my actions can speak louder than my words.




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Clorox Apologizes For Their Offensive “New Dads” Article

Friday, June 28th, 2013

2 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack,

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.”

Uh… what?!

(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…




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I Fakebook Daily And I’m Not Ashamed To Admit It

Friday, March 1st, 2013

2 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

A blog post on a Jewish parenting website went viral this week: “We Need To Quit Telling Lies On Facebook.

It’s no surprise that since being published on February 25th, the post has already received 86,137 likes on Facebook and 611 comments.

This is because the author, , crafted an extremely clever, well-written, relevant article pointing out the potentially pretentious, yet edited-to-appear-familiar lives that we modern parents display on Facebook and social media:

“My life on Facebook is an airbrushed and Instagrammed image of my real life… I give everything a hipstacular filter to make the drudgery look interesting.”

She’s right the way she describes what she calls “Fakebooking,” even down to the part about making it look all we do in our free time is hang out in coffee shops.

I laughed when I read that because it seems like 25% of the stock photos I use of you are taken at a downtown coffee shop on a Saturday morning.

My preference is to present vague photographs of you, causing the viewer to try to subconsciously imagine the story behind the picture. Granted, I always correct the lighting and round off the corners, to help with the pre-fab nostalgic feel.

In other words, I am a living stereotype of what she describes. I am very self-aware of my condition. I Fakebook every day. Actually, I am the worst offender of Fakebooking I know!

However, I have no plans to ever stop.

Technically, as  as puts it, I’m guilty of telling lies by omission.

It’s just that I choose to remember mainly the best parts of life and scrap the rest in my mental junk folder.

I don’t need a reminder of all the frustrating parts about my life. However, I think I do need a reminder of the good stuff.

So what I present in social media, as a parent, is typically edited to serve as a public scrapbook of the way I choose to remember my life personally and privately.

I emphasize the warm and fuzzy… the encouraging and redemptive… the random and quirky.

Meanwhile, I downplay the dark and depressing… the discouraging and doubtful… the boring and predictable.

Still, I feel there is nothing actually fake or deceptive in my presentation; just carefully polished and illustrated.

It’s like comparing the book version of The Lorax to the movie version.

As I mentioned earlier this week in “Facebook Status Updates About Men Who Cheat,” it’s very easy to find negative drama in the comments of my Facebook news feed. But for every comment that tells of a cheating boyfriend or husband, there’s a super positive comment by someone else is who is humbly bragging (oxymoron?) about how they have the best boyfriend or husband in the world.

Fakebooking helps balance out all the chaos in social media; for me at least.

I believe that the version of life we see is the one we choose to see. Like John Milton, the author of Paradise Lost coined it, “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”

Sure, I Fakebook daily. Or maybe I’m just choosing heaven over hell, everyday.




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