The Next Web wrote an intriguing post about the emerging trend of parents creating social profiles for their unborn children. This is not limited to parents that are social media devotees (guilty as charged!) In fact, a study published this week by Internet Security Firm AVG states 5% of babies under 2 have social media profiles, 7% have an email address, and 81% of two-year-olds have a digital footprint (to add it to the old school one you made with his or her inky foot).
Parents generally do this to share baby scans and information about the pregnancy with friends and family—a completely normal instinct. But one can only imagine where this will end.
Will parents start tweeting on behalf of their unborn children in a Star Wars-like prequel to the birth? Will prospective parents agonize over the type of language their gestating child would tweet? Or whether they can really friend another embryo based only on a fuzzy ultrasound?
Will twins, triplets and, dare I say, octuplets be wise to carve out their digital IP in advance of their siblings by locking up twitter handles, Facebook profiles, YouTube channels, and URLs?
Will new parents at pregnancy classes have to accept that while they don't know each other, their unborn children are already "friends"? Or will Facebook friendships forged in the second trimester too often be lost in the third due to chronic lack of sleep?
Will play dates be reduced to stationary face-offs between to two large bumps? And if one unborn misbehaves or says something inappropriate is it ok for the parent to blame or "un-friend" the as yet unborn child?
Will the scent of fresh diapers at Gymboree classes be replaced by an uneasy air of competition as to who has the most pre-natal friends? Will new mothers get together to discuss their pregnancies but instead merely send clever tweets to each other on their smart phones? Will posturing for places in the "right" pre-school become a function of how many friends and followers your newborn has?
Will the miracle of life be recast as digital pre-life made flesh? Will newborns receive gifts from other unborns or new borns? And if so, do you have to send thank you cards? But how do you know what name to write—sorry—tweet on the card if the unborn doesn't have a name yet!
The possibilities are endless, maddening and a wonderful expression of the collision of timeless emotions and new technology. Just look at the PimpMyUltrasound app (above) and know that social media profiles for pets aren't far behind.
The pride of parents knows no bounds and that includes the digital world. Ironically its that same affection and desire to "reserve a patch of the Internet for their child" that makes parents so protective of their children a few short years later. As a parent I marvel at the way digital technology is changing my daughters' lives. Equally remarkable is how it is changing our own.
Have you experienced a social media and pre-natal collision? Or met an unborn that stridently social? Fire away with any stories.
(Hat Tip to @cyharquail for pointing out the PimpMyUltrasound App.)
Reprinted from SimonMainwaring.com
Simon Mainwaring is a branding consultant, advertising creative director, blogger, and speaker. A former Nike creative at Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, and worldwide creative director for Motorola at Ogilvy, he now consults for brands and creative companies that are re-inventing their industries and enabling positive change. Follow him at SimonMainwaring.com or on Twitter @SimonMainwaring.