Googling My Kids

A few weeks ago I became a father for the second and third time... yep, twins! As I think about all the milestones that lay ahead, the digital marketer in me can't help but think about all the ways technology will influence the lives of my kids.

And that's when the feeling of dread takes over.

Someday, I'm going to need to have "the talk." No, it's not the birds and the bees I'm worried about. It's the Angry Birds and the And lord help me when I get asked, "Daddy, what's Chatroulette?"

It used to all be so simple. Our lives were one big walled garden with access controlled by parents, guardians, teachers and the like. Sure, every now and then we'd stumble upon a stranger but we knew not to take their candy nor get in their cars. And you can be damned sure we weren't going to let them Google us!

Nowadays, everyone's Googling everyone and poking is the first step in the relationship. The only walled gardens are those of misguided publishers clinging to yesteryear.



How do I explain to my boy that kissing is only for people you really like? "But, Dad, you just liked Lady Gaga... does that mean you're kissing her?!?"  

And how do I reassure my little girl that just because only 4 people are following her doesn't mean she's a loser? "Sticks and stones will break your bones but tweets will never hurt you."

While we're at it, how do I tell my oldest that the reason we made up her name was so that she could get the top spot on Google? (There's just so many darn Goldmans out there!)

Perhaps I created a self-fulfilling prophecy but Eliara's not even three, and already a total technophile. She's faster on the iPad than her mother, and she'll be Googling herself any day now. How do I have that chat?!? "Well, Ellie, it's OK to be curious."

As for my twins, you can blame my inner search geek for their names. This was a classic A/B split test. Let's standardize all the variables (like recency and age) and see who comes out atop the search rankings. Will it be Ethan, who's battling for SERP space with everyone from a politician to a movie producer to a lawyer, (what, no candlestick maker?!?) or Mila, whose only competition seems to be an architect named Mila with the middle name Goldman?

Of course, one of the most troubling questions is, where will I find the time to write? Thankfully, Chris Copeland stepped up to fill my last biweekly column slot (with a very similar theme by the way... sorry for hyperlinking the wrong anchor text!) so that I could tend to my newborns. But I can't count on many more hall passes going forward (in any aspect of my life).

And what will become of my burgeoning rap career? If I can't keep the smooth rhymes flowing, then everyone may soon be knowing, that I couldn't hang with big Chuck, although no one probably gives a... er, hoot.

One thing's for sure is I have a clear replacement for "because god made it that way" in the battle against the never-ending "whys."

"Daddy, why is the sky blue?"

"Google it."

"Daddy, why do people die?"

"Google it."

"Daddy, why aren't you paying attention to me?"


So where does all this leave me, the digidaddy, who's obsessed more with his kids' page rank than class rank? And what about my poor kids, who will be forced to spend their formative years finding creative ways to erase the embarrassing digital footprint I've created for them?

Alas, 'tis a brave new digital world and only the strong-linked will survive. (Which reminds me, if you're going to link to this column, please either use both my twins' names in the anchor text or neither... don't want to throw off the experiment!)

Now, if you'll excuse me... I've got my work cut out for me trying to knock off that other Goldman family. Sorry, bad choice of words?

5 comments about "Googling My Kids".
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  1. Alan Hamor from adworthy inc, March 23, 2011 at 9:56 a.m.

    Congrats on the twins, Aaron!

  2. Jannette Pazer from DragonSearch Marketing, March 23, 2011 at 10:15 a.m.

    I can 100% relate!

    My "babies" are now 8 and 10, and this year for the holidays they each got their own URL and blogs. I also had to create their own YouTube accounts since they kept on making me "like" Super Mario Brothers videos and songs about stupid cats flushing toilets. Then my connected accounts would Tweet that I like these things. We had to have a conversation about making sure one is signed into the correct idenities!

    While I delight in the growing photoshop and movie maker skills and see them finding other kids that shares their obsessive interests ( Mario, Warrior Cats and Legos.. perferably all three mixed together), there are downsides.

    Yes, I did have to explain to the daughter that a man making a comment about her sticking out her tounge is nasty and we defined a "perv". We did have to teach her to check out other's people's priofiles for things like.. natzi flags! And if people are dancing around in front of one, then no.. we don't subscribe to their channels. It's a sign that this person is not so nice.

    Even with the risks, though, I love that the net gives them the power to creat themselves and opens the whole world up to them. I feel like I am telling the truth when I say "you can be anything you want to be" and don't have to add "when you grow up".. they can start now. I'll just be at the door with a very big stick.. monitoring emails and comments, not dates! ( at least for a bunch more years).

    (Plus, by time they do have names for themselves, the domaine names will be nice and old! Better rankings!!.. the teenager could have benefitted from this too, but his hardcore band never keeps the same name for more than 3 months..teen's never listen!)

  3. Shelly Kramer from V3 Integrated Marketing, March 23, 2011 at 10:21 a.m.

    Aaron, as the parent of twins, I have never laughed harder. And trust me, buckle up! Mine are now 5 (girls) and while it is infinitely easier, my husband and I still look at each other and laugh at the insanity that is our lives.

    My 5 yos fight over the iPad, the iPod touch and my phone and I recently gave in and bought the iPad2 simply to put an end to the ridiculous arguments over who gets to use it and who has to scrimp along on the smaller device.

    My advice to you, drink more.

    And thank you for the tip - I might just now replace "because God made it that way" to "Google it." That, my friend, is brilliant.

    Congratulations again - twins are amazing. As are children in general. Mostly.


  4. Michael Nevins from Smart, March 23, 2011 at 1:01 p.m.

    Congrats! I had the same mindset from day one and quickly registered the url of my son's full name as soon as I could. I hope he appreciates it some day. More likely he will question why I didn't also grab .info, .mobi, .biz, .tv, etc. :)

    Oops, better go get him registered on all social media services ...Only kidding.


  5. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, April 18, 2011 at 11:13 p.m.

    All the happiness in the world to you ! Congrats on your half million dollar investment, but maybe it'll be more after you google it. ;)

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