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social media ’
Thursday, July 25th, 2013
2 years, 8 months.
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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Friday, June 28th, 2013
2 years, 7 months.
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…
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Friday, March 1st, 2013
2 years, 3 months.
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, Sarah Emily Tuttle-Singer, 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 Sarah Emily Tuttle-Singer 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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Wednesday, March 14th, 2012
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.
So, apology accepted… I guess?
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