Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Writing prompt via Google newsfeed

During my evening news consumption via interweb, I happened upon this:

This week, Farhad Manjoo and Emily Yoffe debate the question: When you’re hanging out with pals, but other friends aren’t invited, is it rude to post the details to Facebook?

I haven't bothered to head over to Slate yet to see what the verdict is.  In the summer of 2010, or thereabouts (though it started earlier), I began to see FB updates from my "friends" who were, in retrospect, only friends because they were actual friends of my ex-partner / mother of our child, updates that included pictures of my child playing with their children.

There was baby duck petting, berry picking, ocean excursions, simple play dates involving kitchen floors and bulk flour, days at the library, outings to this or that park--swings, merry-go-rounds, slides galore!  I also began to notice that I hadn't noticed any such pictures posted by E's mother.  It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize that she had un-friended me, and I was therefore receiving information about my daughter's extra-curricular activities via FB updates by people who were very pleasant to me in person, but couldn't be bothered to consider that a father might want to spend time with his daughter in a group setting.   I was unemployed at the time and living less than a mile away from all parties involved, so it wasn't an accessibility issue.

I began to gradually un-friend these parents of friends of my kid.  Gone were the pictures of E on playdates, in unfamiliar settings. The painful feelings weren't gone entirely, but at least I wasn't reminded on a daily basis that my ex and her peer group were crafting a nearly father-free life for my daughter.

E's mother and I, despite our differences, have maintained an if not-cordial, somewhat stable and civil relationship, all the more important now that they are 2000 miles away.  She stills sends photographs every few weeks; I Skype with E when our schedules permit.  A couple months back, E's mother asked me to refrain from posting pictures of E on FB.  "You never know who might be looking at your page," she said.  Privacy control issues aside, I know how she feels.

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