Feb 26 2014
I have been watching the Happy Birthday Colin movement on Facebook for the past couple of weeks. I have been both fascinated and touched by the outpouring of compassion and generosity that seemingly millions of strangers have expressed towards Colin, a boy with special needs who has trouble making friends. After Colin told his mom not to bother with a birthday party since he doesn’t have any friends, his mother, feeling awful, took to social media, built a Facebook page for his birthday, and shared it, hoping some messages would help to lift the boy’s spirits on his birthday.
The thing has gone completely viral; more than 2 million people have liked the page and offered messages. Based on the photos that Colin’s mother posts every few days of them picking up what looks like carloads of birthday cards and gifts that are arriving at Colin’s PO Box, it looks like Colin will have the surprise of a lifetime on his birthday (and he will probably be opening cards every day until his next birthday from the looks of it).
It’s really been great to see that people recognize the need to make every kid feel good on their birthday and to reach out to this boy. Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 19 2014
Somewhere between watching the twentieth video clip of my friend’s son doing his signature jig to Gangam Style and listening to an epic recap of his latest trick, I realized I had just about had it. And this is how I came to find myself googling “How to tell your friend to please stop talking incessantly about her child,” my search yielding 8,600,000 hits and making me immediately feel less alone.
Do I sound heartless? I hope not. I really don’t begrudge new parents their abundant zeal for waxing poetic about their child’s adorableness or their eager recounting of sleepless nights and diaper disasters; I tend to indulge their rambling stories with pleasant equanimity, and with close friends I sometimes possess a genuine interest. And heck, I was that parent once too. I remember what it’s like. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 30 2014
In the old video we just had restored to DVD, my grandmother wears bright red lipstick and a sparkly blue sweater as she undresses my mother for her bath. Her hair is perfectly coiffed. She smiles and bats her eyes. The year is 1951.
Impressed, I told Grandma that I’m usually in mismatched PJs and a shower cap when bath time rolls around, screaming downstairs for my husband to fetch me the last clean towel. “I think I’m doing something wrong,” I admitted.
“Oh, honey,” said Grandma. “I’m sure I dressed up for the camera–and the camera man.”
And there I had it: proof that “Fakebooking” thrived well before Facebook rolled around. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 23 2014
We recently had the total pleasure of Skyping with mom of one, Randi Zuckerberg. If the last name looks familiar, yes–she’s the sister of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and the former Director of Market Development and Spokeswoman for Facebook. Now, she’s the founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media and the author of two new books: Dot Complicated: Untangling Our Wired Lives and Dot, a picture book for kids about a young girl who’s both tech-savvy and interactive with the actual world around her (imagine that!). We talked to her about the various ways technology influences modern day parenting.
In what ways have you found technology makes parenting easier or harder?
In some ways, I think definitely both. You have so many other ways you can interact with your children; you can expose them to apps that encourage learning and creativity. I think it’s easier for kids to learn art, music, and reading then ever before. But in other ways, sometimes you have to pry the devices out of their cold hands, and I think that can be very difficult to remind children to develop human-to-human personal interaction skills–like reminding them to go outside and use their creativity in other ways as well.
And you have one son, correct?
I do, I have one son. I have actually found that technology has been tremendous in our family for fostering a love of Judaism and Jewish education because there are so many great apps. I actually helped advise on a Rosh Hashanah app, where you blow into the iPhone like a shofar. Apps like that have been so fantastic. On Pandora we use the Hanukkah and Shabbat stations. So I feel tech has helped bring Judaism in our life much more, but on the other hand I have to make sure I’m not using it as a babysitter. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 8 2014
“Don’t yuck someone else’s yum.”
That’s what they say in my daughter’s 1st grade class when it comes to wrinkling your nose and making gagging sounds about what your friends brought for lunch.
And that’s what I’ve made my New Year’s resolution. Though it has nothing to do with 1st graders or food.
Rather, it has to do with Facebook. And Twitter. And message boards. And comments. And life in general (both on- and off-line).
I’ve turned into one of those people who yucks someone else’s yum–just for the heck of it. And it needs to stop. Read the rest of this entry →
“Let’s start 2014 with happiness. If you ‘like’ this, I’ll write something that I find beautiful about you!”
I saw a status message in this vein on a friend’s Facebook page. I clicked “like”–more to convey that I “liked” that she was doing such a nice thing, rather than “like” as in, “Send me a compliment ASAP.”
Perhaps fortunately, Facebook’s “likes” are not so nuanced. So I got a compliment from her. It made me feel warm, fuzzy, and appreciated. And so I decided, you know what? I’ll do this too.
I posted this as my status message. The “likes” started pouring in. And whether they “liked” it because of my intention or because they wanted to see what I’d say about them, I decided I was going to write something for each one of them.
I won’t lie–it was time-consuming. I wrote on my phone with one finger as I put my 14-month-old down for her nap. I wrote between dot painting projects with my 2-year-old. I wrote in the glider, the baby asleep on my lap. I wrote in the carpool pickup line (car in park, don’t worry). Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 11 2013
Yesterday we helped NPR’s Planet Money on its search to find a cartoon-themed bat mitzvah t-shirt that turned up in a bin of donated clothes in Sub-Saharan Africa. Once he saw our post about it, Adam Soclof at the JTA went on a hunt for the namesake of this amazing shirt from 1993.
Somehow he ended up finding Rachel Aaronson (maiden name Williams, whose name was sewn into the tee thanks to Jewish summer camp) on Facebook, which led him to interview Rachel and identify Jennifer Slaim–the bat mitzvah girl–who he also interviewed on this bat mitzvah tee fiasco. Check out the interview to learn more about Jennifer’s Betty Boop obsession, her thoughts on her bat mitzvah tee winding up in Israel, and an amazing video of her daughter dancing to MC Hammer. Mmm-hmmm.
UPDATE: NPR got in touch with Jennifer and Rachel and posted this update, including an amazing picture of the two wearing the bat mitzvah t-shirt at the bat mitzvah. The story will be airing on All Things Considered tonight.
Well, folks, never underestimate the power of Facebook and Jewish geography. And keep donating your old tee’s to those in need–you never know when a story could unfold.
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Nov 6 2013
It took me a long time to admit it, but I’m the person everyone has been talking about. I’m the person who uses Facebook as a world-wide picture sharing site, a 21st century baby brag book. It’s me; I’ve “ruined” Facebook for the cool kids.
I wasn’t always this type of person. In fact, before I turned into me, I used to hate people like me. You know the people I’m talking about: the kind of people who post funny things their kids say (or things they think are funny), share anecdotes from playdates, or statistics from doctors’ visits; the kind of people who (gasp) use their kids as their profile picture. You’re not your child, I would silently fume as I would see yet another one of my friends fall victim to the rampant child-picture-appropriation on Facebook. Your child is not your identity! Your role as a parent doesn’t solely define you! I would swear that I would be different–I would still be ME (as signified by the oh-so-telling Facebook Profile Picture). And yet, as soon as my baby was born and was big enough to wear a hat with ears–bam, he was my profile picture. I mean, come on, how could I resist? He was wearing a hat. With ears!
So how, after consciously trying not to, did I turn into this person? Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 28 2013
Monday’s post from Sarah Tuttle-Singer, “We Need to Quit Telling Lies on Facebook,” has officially gone viral. With 76,000 Facebook likes (ironic?) and 5o0 comments and counting, it’s been a thrill to see so many people relate to this post about the realities of parenting. We asked readers to send in their own pictures and stories for our #NoMoreFakebook campaign, and below you’ll find them. It’s not all pretty, and it’s certainly not all ideal, but it’s all very real. Share your own #NoMoreFakebook stories on our Facebook wall or on Twitter and join the phenomenon!
Blair Young: Nourishing our toddler with cheese steaks and mayonnaise. She also tasted red dye #3 well before turning 2:
Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 25 2013
So, according to Facebook, this is how I spent my Saturday with the kids:
My children and I woke up with the sun, smiling and ready to kick ass and “make it a great day.”
My hair was shiny. My smile, too.
We drank our morning drinks in latte cups–frothy foam mustaches lacing our lips.
We played backgammon, our skin mottled by drops of shade in the morning light. Read the rest of this entry →