When I started reading this piece about why you shouldn’t put photos of yourself with your kid all over your Facebook profile I was surprised. Basically it comes down to this: “Future employer X calls colleague Y to ask about me; colleague Y checks Facebook to get the latest….and instead of a link to a story I’m proud of, or even a video I find funny, he finds a photo of me and my baby boy making snuggly faces.”
Within hours after the birth of my son, I posted a photo of his smushy newborn face on Facebook.
And then I started to worry that I had made a mistake.
Not about the baby – he’s awesome. Not even about my baby’s potentially compromised privacy, or the possible ruination of his future digital identity. Instead, I worried that, by publicly donning my mom-hat, I might be hurting myself.
Studies upon studies show that women with children fare worse, professionally and financially, than women without. Moms face more difficulty getting hired and earn less than their childless peers. It’s worse for new, breastfeeding moms, who are judged to be less competent and less likely to be hired than bottle-feeding moms and who suffer more severe and prolonged earnings loss. Even controlling for all the extenuating circumstances that make salary comparisons really hard, the evidence seems pretty conclusive: Moms earn less, and have less success, than women without children.
Of course, my reaction after reading the above was “Well, my page is private… so I’m fine.” But then I read these two lines:
“And while my Facebook page is private, my friends do include plenty of people I’ve worked with or for, or might hope to work with or for in the future. I also take it as given that any potential future employer or reference would use all the available tools to check me out – including finding out who we know in common via social networks.”
I realized they TOTALLY apply to me. Right now both my jobs are awesome, and neither Ariel nor my photography clients care that my kid is on my page (that I know of). But what if in the future I’m interested in doing something else and this works against me?
What do you guys think?
Updated to clarify: The topic of this article is totally NOT one that I support, but I do feel like the possibility of being discriminated against for sharing your kid’s lives on social networking websites is worth discussing. You can’t change a practice like this if you don’t know about it! — Stephanie