Friday, August 3, 2012

Baby pictures thwarted with new Chrome plug-in

I love your kids. I really do. I especially love that they're yours.

But really, who doesn't love a baby photo? I do. It's the perfect way to share in the cuteness of a child, but not actually clean up after one. I've followed the lives of some of my relatives' kids solely through Facebook.

But when I'm inundated with baby photos, as I sometimes do, it tends to get a little tiresome and...weird. I risk alienating myself from nearly every friend and family member with a child by saying this, but when it comes to babies - and especially newborns - I'm usually with George Carlin.

So I had to laugh when I heard about this plug-in for Chrome called It works like this: The extension replaces any and all baby pictures on Facebook with other content that you get to choose (i.e. cats, baby sloths or squirrels). After installing the program, users refresh their Facebook feed, and the babies are replaced by something else that you specify like "squirrels" or "baby sloths" or a Flickr feed.

In the spirit of research, I decided to try it out for a time on Chrome. This is the message you get when you're setting up the plug-in: "These are the words and phrases which power the extension. If your pal Debbie just had a kid, it might be wise to add her name here. That'll ensure maximum protection.

year old, so adorable, our family, just learned to walk, years old, month old, months old, so adorable, pajamas, eating solid foods, crawling, so cute, is precious, is too cute, look at those cheeks, cutest baby ever, newborn, and mommy, looks like dad, toesies, just like mom, looks like mom, mother and, father and, cute baby, can't wait to meet, gorgeous baby, infant, new addition to the family, first ballgame, day old, bundle of joy, birth, ultrasound, baby feet, lbs oz, toddler, carriage, cradle, gave birth, little one, baby boy, baby girl, 1st birthday, is growing up, diaper, diapers, tiny toes, all snuggly, binky, pacifier, bib, onesie, sockies, gerber, such an angel, what an angel, little angel, little princess, daycare, tantrum, won't stop crying, is finally napping, first steps, carseat,"

The creator of the code told the Huffington Post, "On Twitter, people were saying we just fixed the Internet."

I'm trying it out now with baby sloths. We'll see if I like it or just get annoyed with it. Or even lonesome for the human babies - which may happen.

Babies are interesting and also scary to talk about. It's so personal. And pictures of those babies mean so much to mothers and fathers. Pictures are a way parents show they care about their kids. Pictures document kids growing up for family members and friends who live far away.

But people are obviously annoyed. I think even moms and dads sometimes even get irritated by having to upload those pictures of every family outing-turned-photo shoot.

I know I get irritated by this pressure while on vacation. And, I have to admit, I wonder if people care so much to see me sprawled out like a whale on some beach that they didn't get to visit. Do they? Maybe we should all be more selective in what we post online. Or filter photos to the people we know will care - like Grandma in Boca Raton (baby pics) or a boyfriend who doesn't mind wobbly bits.

Respectful thoughts welcomed.

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