Photos On Facebook: Can There Be Too Many Babies (Or Animals)?

Aug 20, 2012
Originally published on August 20, 2012 6:02 pm
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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Finally, in tech, we're here to decode your digital dilemmas. Well, actually, we defer to our two experts: Baratunde Thurston, former digital director at The Onion and author of the book "How to be Black," and Deanna Zandt. She's the author of "Share This!: How You Will Change the World with Social Networking."

This week, we pose the question about posting photos on Facebook, namely: Is there a limit to the number of photos you can post of a new baby or a new pet?

BARATUNDE THURSTON: Forty-seven is the...

DEANNA ZANDT: Yeah.

THURSTON: ...absolute value of the number of...

ZANDT: Although in Canada, it's actually 44, I think.

THURSTON: Oh, is it like...

ZANDT: There is a new Canadian regulation of 44...

THURSTON: OK.

ZANDT: ...per cycle, depending on whether you're using English or metric.

(LAUGHTER)

ZANDT: But I think this is - comes down to personal preference. People, for example, on Facebook, they can unsubscribe from you. If you are so enamored with the human that you created that you feel the need to put out incessant amounts of pictures about that little human...

THURSTON: Yeah.

ZANDT: ...go for it. Let other people decide what they're going to do with your information.

THURSTON: Yeah, I strongly disagree. I think there's a limit...

(LAUGHTER)

THURSTON: ...to how much you should be posting images of your child who has no consciousness or rights yet. There's a digital child abuse thing going on here. And then with the animals, you know, let's just get new animals. Cats have had their day on the Internet, and I think it's time for a new species.

ZANDT: Hamsters.

THURSTON: But hamsters get no love...

ZANDT: Get no love on the Internet.

THURSTON: ...online. There was that one hamster on the piano that was really wonderfully adorable. Squirrels have had a brief moment. I think we could diversify a little bit, though. And I'm not calling for like affirmative action per se.

ZANDT: And there's actually a service that you can use called unbaby.me where you can replace pictures of babies that your friends have shared with pictures of other things that make you happier.

(LAUGHTER)

THURSTON: That's good. That is a good - do you get a cut of unbaby.me?

ZANDT: No. No.

THURSTON: Awesome.

ZANDT: This was actually passed on to me as a knower of someone who does not appreciate too many baby pictures.

THURSTON: There you go. That is a practical and ethical recommendation.

(LAUGHTER)

ZANDT: It is.

(LAUGHTER)

CORNISH: That's Deanna Zandt and Baratunde Thurston. Have a question for our experts? E-mail it to alltech@npr.org.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PICTURES OF YOU")

THE CURE: (Singing) I've been looking so long at these pictures of you that I almost believe that they're real. I've been... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.