A few weeks ago, the media was aflutter with news that a fetus on Facebook had over 200 friends. Several outlets reported that Marriah Greene was “possibly the youngest person with a Facebook page,” just before Facebook caught wind of the story and deleted Marriah’s profile. What struck me about the story wasn’t that an unborn baby had a Facebook account and several dozen friends, but rather that this story is more common than people think.
On my blog, I’ve posted several instances of fetus profiles or profiles set up for babies as a way for them to “communicate” via social media. What do babies talk about? Lots of things! Politics, favorite foods, the weather… No subject is off-limits, and it appears that most parents want everyone to know that their baby is very opinionated on subjects such as health care reform. But before we get into that, let’s look at why some parents might think it’s OK to set up a social media account for someone who can’t yet speak or who isn’t yet born.
The first thing that comes to my mind is ultrasounds, particularly 3D ultrasound technology that allows parents to have several dozen photos of their unborn baby. Back in the day, it was standard to only have two or three ultrasounds, all of them black and white, and none of them showcasing a baby’s distinct features. But now, parents-to-be can see smiles, gestures and movement through technology, and what better place is there to share those photos than on Facebook?
Personally, I haven’t shared an album of 24 photos of, well, anything recently, which makes this trend even more confusing. I can understand wanting to showcase a few of them, sure, but all 24 just seems excessive and strange.
Then again, maybe it’s not so strange to share an entire album of ultrasounds once or twice throughout a pregnancy if you consider that some people are utilizing the popular “Baby Gaga” widget, which provides weekly updates on fetus developments.
Not only does J. here use Baby Gaga, which posts information like what you see above into J.’s friends’ news feeds each week, but she also has an ultrasound of her baby serving as her profile picture. To me, these two things are intrinsically related. Why wouldn’t a pregnant woman who’s slightly obsessing with her unborn baby make her profile picture a fuzzy sonogram if implementing widgets like Baby Gaga is becoming the norm? It seems the lines are blurred (pun intended) on this issue, but to me it’s pretty clear: Keep your profile picture of YOU, because that’s who your friends want to see.
I recognize this may be asking too much.
Sigh. I think the real indicator that this trend is far from over, despite the deletion of young Marriah’s Facebook account, might be that fetuses are growing bored of Facebook and moving straight to Twitter:
What can I say? Technology has come a long way, and so have unborn babies who have a lot on their tiny, still-developing minds. All we can hope for, ultimately, is that the parents of these fetuses know where to draw the line. You’d be surprised at how quickly you can shift from thinking that a Facebook account for a fetus is the most obnoxious thing you’ve ever seen once you come across something like this:
Let’s just hope this trend doesn’t catch on.