I'd love to credit the source of this picture, but the link to the original source seems spammy. I just did a Google image search of "What's in a Name."
I’ll preface this post with, this is the decision we’re making in our family. Whether you choose to share or not share your kids’ (or even other family member) names is your decision. There isn’t a right or a wrong, this just happens to be what we decided.
I decided to write this post after having a pretty lengthy and interesting conversation with other San Antonio bloggers. I found that some bloggers thought about it and decided to share, others decided not to share, and some never even gave it a second thought. It was really great to have a discussion from all sides. There isn’t a lot out there as to why some bloggers share their kids’ names, and why they don’t. Again, this is just our experience, but as a blogger I want to share this experience and maybe help others that are wondering the same thing.
How did we decide this?
I first posed this question to John early on in my pregnancy. I honestly can’t remember what we discussed or if we had really decided on anything. I know that I approached it from more of a blogging standpoint, but as my pregnancy has progressed and we've discussed it more, it’s expanded to all online/social media outlets. I am going to use a lot of I's and Me's in the post because that's just how I write, but this decision is one that John and I made together and agree on.
I think that giving your child a limited online profile is pretty good gift. When you think about all the things that are posted online without consent or knowledge of the individual, it can be a lot. We’re in a day and age when so much information is passed around online. I honestly can’t imagine what it’s like for kids to grow up in such a digital age. The most I had to worry about was a friend or my mom reading my diary. Now your personal life is something that can get posted and shared around the world in a matter of seconds whether you want it to be or not.
Part of it also stemmed from my profession. I work in Human Resources. I teach trainings on social media both to staff and to college students/organizations. Anyone with decent google skills can really find anything out on anyone. Remember the time I found Walter? That took less than 10 minutes to do. Plus our last name is already tied to this blog so if you really wanted to find out more about me it’d be pretty easy to do.
But you’re a blogger, you already put your life out there, what’s the big deal?
I do censor a lot of what I put out there and there are certain things that I just won’t talk about online. Does this mean that I’m not going to post pictures of my child? No. They’ll be there (though I get pretty twitchy about certain sharing capabilities on Facebook that can’t be controlled). Or that I won’t post a story about how when we’re in the middle of potty training he goes and takes a crap in the corner? No. I’ll probably post about that (and cross my fingers that that doesn’t happen, but poop basically always happens). By not using his actual name his future employer is probably less likely to find that story of him crapping in the corner though.
Deciding on a name:
We’ve always had a girl and a boy name picked out so we knew what the name would be as soon as we found out the gender. On New Years Eve when we told our friends we were pregnant one of them “named” the baby Frijole and that’s what we’ve called him ever since. Whether that continues to be his name on this blog or other social media sites is yet to be determined. I may change it after birth, I may not. John probably uses his actual name more than I do. People always seem so shocked when I do say his name that I often forget that it’s because he’ll be here in 2 weeks and I’ve never told them his name. I bet most people just think we don’t have one picked out or we’re just not telling anybody. To be honest, part of it is that I’m a little scared of burning out on his name. It’s almost like I don’t want to overuse it. Or what if when he does get here he looks NOTHING like his name? So even though he’s no longer the size of a frijole, he’s still Frijole to me. I also tend to just refer to him as The Baby, him/he, or pain in the ass depending on how my day is going.
How will you monitor others using his name?
We’ve already asked family and friends to not use his name. In the few instances someone had posted his name on Facebook, I’ve asked them to edit their posting and have given plenty of other options they can currently use. I’ve also asked to crop pictures if they’re using one that has his name in it – for instance from my baby shower. So far no one has had any problems with it. I’m sure as he gets older we may have more things come up, but we’ll address them as needed. Advice from others that I’ve heard from is that usually the person who posted will edit it, they’ve deleted or edited the blog comment, and some have actually unfriended friends and family that wouldn’t comply.
Will you ever share his actual name?
In real life I’d be happy to tell you his name. Putting it online is a decision I want him to make when he’s old enough to understand it. I know that there will eventually be a time when he knows about this blog, and that I’ve written stories about him. There will probably be a time when he asks me to no longer share anything about him. I think as bloggers that write about our children, we all know that it is inevitable and will deal with it in our own ways. I hope that he will one day appreciate that I’ve documented stories of his life for him and that he’ll eventually be able to share them with his family.