The Real Cost of Tweeting About My Kids

I've become a fan of Agnes Callard recently. Her thoughts on parenting and the changes associated with parenting in the 21st century are simultaneously funny and thought provoking. This piece in the New York Sunday Times doesn't disappoint. In it, the UChicago professor goes into a few topics:

  1. The tradeoffs we make when posting on social media
  2. Losing 'control' of our data once we post
  3. What we are willing to pay for 'distance'
As my children appreciate, the control issue goes well beyond whether Facebook monetizes our data. It is also a matter of making oneself into a thing that others can own. When I’ve told you what my son said, it’s not “his data” anymore. He can’t control whether you laugh at it, or what tone you use when you do.
We don’t like to acknowledge just how much we are willing to pay for distance from other people. For example, people warn prospective parents that having a baby is expensive, but that isn’t exactly true. What’s expensive is getting away from your baby. If you don’t want to feed them with your body, you buy formula and bottles. If you don’t want them looking at you all the time, you buy contraptions to entertain them. A stroller so you don’t have to carry them, a crib so you don’t have to sleep with them, a house with extra rooms so you don’t even have to sleep near them, child care so that you can get farther away yet: These are the costs that add up. You don’t pay much for babies, but you pay a lot to escape them.


Want to receive more content like this in your inbox?