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I’m a GeekDad… with a Uterus

I got asked to join the site, GeekDad*.  I’ve read it for a long time, and it was a huge honour to be asked to join the team as an occasional contributor.  Getting the invitation is very similar — so I imagine — to be being tapped by Skull and Bones. It comes when you least expect it, being slipped into your email inbox. It starts out with a congratulations on the invitation, and it ends by talking about getting you set up with your log-in materials. The point being that no one in their right mind would turn down the invitation to be a GeekDad, so we might as well forgo the question of “if” and just start you on the road to “when.”

And they’re right. I mean, as much as I’m joking about it, they’re right.  Beyond my own blog, there are three places I want to write for.  I’ve already been writing for BlogHer since December 2007.  GeekDad is number two.  (The third I’m keeping to myself because it’s sort of like announcing to the whole middle school whom you have a crush on.)

Before I said yes, I asked the twins how they felt about it since I would be writing about them and what it is like to navigate my way through technology with them.  They thought about it and told me to go for it because (1) they hoped I would one day be asked to review a Lego product and (2) tech stories tend not to be embarrassing and (3) I pay for their gadgets and computer programming classes.  Plus, I told them that if they help me with an article, I will pay them for their work.

My first post went up this week about playing Infocom games with the twins.  I will be writing more stuff with the twins over there, so if you like ChickieNobisms and Wolvog thoughts, you can subscribe to my feed on the site, or I’d just recommend subscribing to the site in general.

And speaking about BlogHer, there were two posts in Blogging & Social Media that I’d love your thoughts on.

The first is about being an Internet Bystander; inadvertently reading something on someone’s blog, and in doing so, entering a difficult spot where you observe someone who may or may not need help.  On one hand, the situation isn’t happening in front of you so you can’t judge the danger with your own eyes.  Yet on the other, if you take the writer’s words at face value, the person clearly needs helps.  Stupid Stork poses a really interesting question about what you would do if you encountered a post online where the person was writing about harming themselves or being harmed by someone else.

The second is a post about depression and social media.  While I don’t think social media can cause depression, it can certainly bring out cognitive dissonance.  It pulls us apart as it brings us together.  I wrote,

Humans have always been trying to keep up with the Joneses, and nowhere is it easier to see what the Joneses have that you don’t than online. Number of followers on Twitter? Number of friends on Facebook? Invitation to Disney Moms? Book deal? Comments on a post? Likes on a status? And then all the things that we talk about online that aren’t actually contained in cyberspace: the crafts we think up that we put on Pinterest and the gorgeous pictures of a new home and the vacations to exotic locales and the non-tangibles: seeing that someone else thinks they have the best husband in the world or the cutest kids. The most love, the most happiness, the most ease.

Because then the question becomes, if we know it can be emotionally harmful, should we put limits in place?  Either set limits ourselves or as a society?  I’d love your thoughts on it.

So that’s it.  Proud to be a Geek, and still thinking lots about blogging & social media over at BlogHer.  Smearing myself across the Web.

* I am aware and they are aware that I am a woman.  There are actually a small handful (maybe 4) of women on staff.  It’s sort of cool to get to work with an almost all female staff (BlogHer) as well as an almost all male staff (GeekDad) at the same time.


1 a { 05.14.13 at 9:24 am }

Congratulations on your new gig!

I did comment on Stupid Stork’s post – the Internet bystander thing is a difficult concept. To me, if you’re writing about something on your blog, the incident is over. So, a reader can advise you to take some action…but people don’t usually live-blog their life tragedies (in real time). There is some distance from the activity – not the emotion, but the activity. Because of that, everyone is a bystander by necessity.

Twitter or Facebook might be a different story – I’ve heard of situations where people have tweeted a call for help, and have gotten it. But I’m not on Twitter, and I don’t pay that close of attention to Facebook, so I don’t have any experience in that realm.

As to the Depression and Social Media issue, I don’t know if the internet makes it any worse. If you’re prone to feeling rejected or to needing validation from others, it might be easier to find those things on the internet from a broader range of people. I just think you’re equally likely to have those same reactions with people in real life. I also think that the upside of the internet (being able to find people with whom you share experiences and interests) sort of outweighs the potential downside of getting wrapped up in the popularity aspect.

2 Lollipop Goldstein { 05.14.13 at 9:34 am }

Oh, that is SUCH a good point about the lack of live blogging aspect to the situation. The danger may not be completely over, but if you can sit down and construct a blog post about something, you also probably not in immediate danger.

I think the biggest problem is the anonymity (in a sense) online. I may not know where the person is, and then what sort of help do I get if there is no name/no location?

3 Justine { 05.14.13 at 9:23 pm }

I commented over at Stupid Stork, too … what I said, more or less, is that I think we have the responsibility to help if we know how, but if we have no contact information, there isn’t much we can do to act intrusively.

I commented on your other post at BlogHer, but you also made me think about the flip side of the problem … about social media draining our “caring” reserves. But maybe that’s just me. I can repost the comment here if it’s helpful.

BTW, stop living in my head. 😉

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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