Discover more from The Remarkable Fools Letter
the moustache says no
on choosing privacy over virality
My solicitor turned to me and smiled. You got it made, he said.
What do you mean? I replied.
You’ve got a daughter that looks like that? She’s beautiful. Get her an agent.Get a few commercials under her belt. That kid could make you a lot of money.
What do you say when someone tells you something like that? I just stood there gaping.
He continued. “Your wife is beautiful. And you look better than someone who has been passed through a wood chipper. A child actress can really make a name for herself. Get her going!
Money was tight at the time. The thought of helping my daughter get started as a child actress made me wretch. Knowing what I know and what he knows about the film and television industry, I couldn't believe what he was saying. We went to university in the early 90s. Pre twitter, pre hash tag, pre ‘me too,’ sexual pressure and exploitation was commonplace. They say that while prostitution is considered the oldest profession, being a pleasure pad for a pock marked producer in order to land a role is a close second.
Given the sexual exploitation that I knew about? There was no way on earth. I was going to facilitate my daughter’s entry into the business.
Like any creative, I’m stymied by the volume of content created and my inability to have more readers than blog posts. To fix this, I’m starting to make tickey-tockey videos. These need to be for someone, about something and ideally somehow helpful.
I’ve been watching a bunch of these videos. One genre is the ‘parenting video’. One format involves bringing along the whole family. In fact, videos that have children / families doing things together consistently seem to outperform others in the parenting genre. This is not a scientific study but seems to pass the eye test.
They bug me, all of these smailing, happy, groomed squeaky clean children.
When I see them, they look just so clean, so perfect, I want to throw soot on them. I want to dip them in skunk juice. They look so fucking happy I want to slap their little cherubic faces till they look like tree stumps.
Sure, this is a bit mean. Just a bit.
I just can’t stand this phoney family media business bullshit. And? It works.
Recently on my Instagramz, I shared a photo of my daughter on horseback in the story. This picture had three times the views and five times the engagement of my typical posts. Those metrics are solid. Using my kids would attract attention and likely help me grow my readership. That might be the easy way.As a Remarkable Fool? I’m not going to do it.
Sure, I write a bit about my family. I write about friends. I try to leave my children out of it. You read stories about them here. You won’t know some of their most cute, most private, most intimate secrets and stories. Ideally though, you’ll have no idea who my kids are unless the decide to share themselves with you.
I’m going to keep it that way.
In fact, I rarely share stories or pictures of my children in my own, personal social media feeds.
Both family and friends want to hear about my children. They love to see my children smiling, happy and having fun. But my children, if they want to be seen, shared, liked and commented on? That’s their business not mine.
These days we show up in so many more ways. We show up with our family. We show up at work, at school and out in the community. We also show up and have a presence online.
My children don’t have any choice about going to school. They don’t have much choice about attending family events. Many children don’t have any choice about how they are presented online. Their relationship with the online world is something they will live with, control and cultivate their whole lives. They can present themselves to people as they want to be seen. Or they can keep themselves,their image and details of their lives private.
My childrens’ privacy is much more important to me than any success online they might help me reach. Their embarrassing stories? Those are theirs to share should they wish to. Their super cute babies having a bath pictures? They don’t get shared either. How many of your nudes taken when you were six weeks old do you like to splash around the internet so that a distant auntie or cousin can see to smile and remark about how ‘precious’ you are.
If you were truly precious, a picture of you wearing underpants on your head and a thong over your diaper, posted in 2007 by your mom wouldn’t be coming back to haunt you in 2023. Sadly though, this seems to happen more and more frequently these days.
So, given that images and videos of children seem to be a golden goose when it comes to social media shares, what do you think I should share in social media videos in order to connect with a larger audience?
What kinds of vertical / tickety tockity videos do you imagine coming from me?
Finally, what's your relationship with social media when it comes to your children?
What are the ethics of using your children as a tool to grow your income?