Hello World: Eva Claire Waldow

Eva Claire Waldow - SmilingShe’s here.

Eva Claire Waldow entered the world on Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 11:30pm MT. She weighed in at exactly 7 pounds and stretched out to 20 1/2 inches. She cute, adorable, beautiful, warm, cuddly, tiny, strong, fabulous, and life-changing. I could go on and on. That’s what new dad’s are supposed to do, right?

I thought about keeping this post simple. I considered discussing the experience and how amazing it is. While I could have easily done that, I figured it may be more interesting/valuable to add social media commentary into the mix. If all you care about is that Eva is here, then there is no need to continue reading. If you just want to look at pictures, check out my Facebook page (photos). Note: The privacy settings are “friends only.”

If you want to learn more about my take on the influence social media had on the communication of Eva’s birth, read on.

Birth Plans vs. Online Communication Plans

Other than agreeing that I’d cut the cord, Kristina and I did not have a birth plan. Maybe we are a bit of a unique situation as Kristina works in the field (she’s a maternal fetal medicine fellow), but I don’t think that’s why. What is interesting, but not surprising for those that know me, is that I was more concerned with how we’d communicate her arrival to friends, family and the rest of the online world.

I think my college buddy Kurt Machemer summed it up best with his Facebook comment:

the most anticipated birth in the history of facebook has finally arrived

I’ve been planning Eva’s “online communication plan” for months now. I set up a Twitter account for her that “boasts” 133 followers and 116 tweets as of March 28th. I talked about her on Facebook and on this very blog (Holy Crap! I’m Gonna Be a Dad!). I took pictures of Kristina’s belly, downloaded the “What To Expect” iPhone app, filmed “testimonials’ of me and Kristina over the past few weeks, and even kept a whiteboard countdown. I asked for advice from friends, family and other parents. I talked about her arrival every chance I got … even with complete strangers.

I was pumped.

And now she’s here.

How Social Media Changed How I Communicated Eva’s Birth

Kristina is very social; however on a social scale of 1-10, if she’s a 7 than I’m an 11. Kristina doesn’t like to be the center of attention. I crave it. When it comes to online and social media, we are worlds apart.

As the Director of Community for Blue Sky Factory, my job is to participate in the on & offline conversation. I spend a good chunk of my time writing and reading blogs, and making connections on Facebook and Twitter. I create and consume content all day long. Not only is Kristina the opposite of me in this regard, she can’t fathom why I’d “share personal information with strangers.”

This post is not about our differences. In fact, it’s not really even about us. It’s about Eva! However, I thought it was important to set the stage for this next part.

Once Eva was born and we held her and changed her and kissed her and cuddled with her, it was time to tell the world. We started with the traditional methods – phone calls to my parents, my sister, and Kristina’s family. In the “olden days” with the exception of a snail mail birth announcement, that’s where the communication would have ended.

Social media has changed all of that.

How so? Well, after I placed my calls, my next stop was Twitter. Exactly 7 hours and 36 minutes after Eva was born, I “announced it” via Twitter and included a picture I took of her with my iPhone.

Dude(s). Game on. @babywaldow is now Eva Claire Waldow. Born last night (3/23) at 11:30pm – 7lbs http://twitpic.com/1am2ya

Within seconds, the floods of congratulations and other kind words were flowing through the Twittersphere. I started to received emails and text messages too. Nearly 5 days later, the picture included in that tweet has over 1,000 views. I don’t know 100 people on Twitter let alone 1,000.

Next, I moved to Facebook. A single status update generated over 100 comments and led to scores of wall postings. I then sent a text/picture message out to several iPhone contacts. I jumped on IM and shared the news with some work friends. I sent an email from Kodak Gallery with several dozen pictures to close friends and family members. Finally, I even edited down video footage from the first 12 hours of her life and posted to a private YouTube page. Crazy, right?

While one could easily get caught up in the numbers, I think it’s fascinating how the news was communicated. I chose several different media (IM, Text, Facebook, Twitter, Email, Phone, Blog, etc) as that was the best way to ensure the most people were in the know.  Believe it or not, there are business lessons embedded here. I won’t spend a ton of “ink” on them in this (Eva’s!) post, but consider the importance of meeting people (customers) where they are. My grandma is not on Facebook, but she reads email. My high school friends are not on Twitter, yet they respond to text messages. I don’t have many of Kristina’s friends’ phone numbers, but they all saw the Facebook updates.

Finally, one thought on “branding.” In the months leading up to Eva’s birth, she was know to the world as Baby Waldow. In the online space, she was @babywaldow. I often refer to Kristina as K-Dawg. Many of my business and other online acquaintances have never met Kristina or Eva (of course), but they refer to both by the names I’ve created for them. I’m not sure of the significance of this, but I thought it was worth pointing out.

What’s Next?

Obviously “next” is to shower Eva with love, to spend time with my wife, to be supportive and helpful and loving. However, from an online perspective, I think this is where it gets interesting. Kristina was not thrilled that I was sharing details about our baby with “strangers” (as she sees people on Twitter). We made several compromises. Just to be clear, I did not post anything on Twitter or Facebook that Kristina was not comfortable with. In fact, we uploaded pictures to Facebook together and choose our favorites only. As mentioned above, we also filmed and edited a video of the first 12 hours of Eva’s life. That’s one we are sharing with immediate family only.

So what happens next? I’m a big believer in locking up your online brand as soon as possible. I just locked up EvaWaldow.com for 10 years, created the @evawaldow Twitter account (first tweet), and am thinking about starting her Facebook page. I don’t have any immediate plans to populate these with content, but I will.

I have friends who choose to share anywhere to a very little to a ton of information about their children. Some intentionally do not mention their children’s names online while others allow & encourage them to be active (blogging, videos, etc). I’m not sure what lies ahead in the online world for Eva, but if you know me, there will be a plan.

Stay tuned.

I hope Eva is ready for a dad like me.

DJ Waldow
@djwaldow

33 comments
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joannataylor
joannataylor

Thanks for the link. Very enjoyable reading. Eva is lucky to have a dad that adores her so.

annhandley
annhandley

Chris Penn said it best: "This world isn't yours any longer."

What's more, your heart isn't your own any more, either. And incredibly, you won't mind a bit.

SO HAPPY FOR YOU ALL!

Love from Ann

kristaparry
kristaparry

Beautifully written @cspenn. It's amazing how everything in life changes the second that baby is placed in your arms. It's a big world and who to better lead Eva Claire through it than her Socialbutterfly dad and incredibly good looking mom!

suzidemsey
suzidemsey

To know you is to love you...Eva Claire doesn't have a chance...she'll love a Dad like you!!!!

Andrew Bonar
Andrew Bonar

Congratulations!
Even if you do not know 1000 people on Twitter, the point is many thousands feel they know a bit about you. In what you have shared there are many more people that now feel they have a real personal connection to you.

Christopher Penn put it very well indeed. The only thing I would add is your attitude to yourself changes and suddenly you find yourself under a microscope of your own making and every flaw (even the ones you never realised you had) are suddenly magnified 1000 percent. I heard this or something similar in a move once, but still a fact I found very true.

Thats part of the magic of fatherhood, your world changes, you change and you want those changes to be for the betterment not of yourself but for your child. Everything that is really important is so much more important now and those things that were less important are now completely worthless.

Its a tough gig - but well worth it - good luck :)

Scott Cohen
Scott Cohen

DJ: I will echo Chris' sentiments. Well said.

As a newer father (to a 5-month old) to a newest father, some words of advice:

- Know that the sleepless nights and the frustrations are worth it each and every day.
- Know that your energy (positive or negative) finds its way to your children, whether you like it or not. So stay positive as much as possible, and if for some reason you can't find a reason anywhere else, know that you can think of your daughter as THE reason to be so.
- Make sure that whatever you do when you're away from her makes you happy. Because otherwise it's not worth the time you're away from her.

And one of these days, I'll teach you the secret handshake... provided we stop our sway (from rocking our baby girls to sleep) long enough to do so.

Congrats to both you and the K-Dawg. Here's to a joyous, healthy, and happy life for the three of you. L'Chaim!

karimacatherine
karimacatherine

I can only second what @cpenn has written. Beautiful and so true! Welcome to Eva and Congrats to both families

Karima-Catherine {mom to 2 girls} :)

Christopher S. Penn
Christopher S. Penn

This world isn't yours any longer. This is a realization that sets in very soon after the arrival of your first child, after the moment when the responsibility for another human life is fully shouldered. This isn't your world. When you pick up the paper, when you read the news, when you see, hear, think, and act in the world, you see the world that you will be leaving for your child. Every day that you think, say, and act is a day when you're creating, doing, and building not just for yourself, but for the little bundle of joy that looks to you for strength, security, and unconditional love.

Anything and everything you do matters more now. Anything and everything you do can have very deep, very personal consequences for good or ill, even the tiniest things. Every drop of water you save, every plastic bottle you recycle isn't just for convenience or an abstract better world. It's for the world that you are building for your daughter.

Enjoy it. Enjoy every moment of it, because it goes by so fast.

Sharon Mostyn
Sharon Mostyn

Congrats again on a beautiful baby girl! I'm sure that Eva will be the most social baby/toddler/little girl/young lady ever...and that you'll help her balance the desire to be social with the need to stay safe. I often think about that with my own children - we train them from the time they can walk and talk to beware of strangers, yet the opportunity is there to share so much more online than they ever would in person. I'm sure you and K-Dawg will find a good social plan for Eva - one on which you all agree works for everyone.

In the meantime, enjoy spending time with your new baby girl and thanks for keeping us all informed! :)

warrendadwaldow
warrendadwaldow

As Eva's grandfather, I might suggest the real question is are you ready for Eva? Welcome to parenthood!

Arina
Arina

I've been thinking about how much to share online for a while now. It's a gray area, and a tough one for me. I want to make sure that I respect my child's eventual desire for privacy, and that nebulous thought is what is giving me pause right now. How much is too much? And what will be too much as that child's individualism is more and more clear? As it stops being *my* story and begins to be *his,* where's the line? I'm struggling...

IlinaP
IlinaP

Your branding comment is interesting. I took my sons to a book reading yesterday, and the author, who had read my blog, addressed them as "Bird" and "Deal" in his inscription.

Congratulations on Fatherhood. Eva is adorable.

MSchechter
MSchechter

Congratulations DJ and welcome to the father's with daughters club. I've have always been fascinated by how our children's lives will be documented online from day 1 and what this will mean for them. In fact, much like @babywaldo, I often get accused of my own Kaitlyn being one of the most photographed girls on FB.

It will be interesting to see how much of this is fatherly pride and how much of it actually becomes the digital record that follows them around. Hopefully Eva and Kaity will appreciate the digital head start. Haven't gone as far as creating a FB and Twitter page, but definitely locked down the domain :)

Welcome to fatherhood DJ, my best advice for guys like you and me... get a bigger hard drive. You have no idea how many pictures and videos you are about to take.

sue_anne
sue_anne

Great post! And, I think these questions are being asked by a lot of couples where one partner is active in social media and the other isn't. Your wife sees your connections on Twitter as strangers where some of those are my nearest and dearest these days. Also, it's uncomfortable for some to share a photo on Twitter, but they are still comfortable walking down the street with their baby in a stroller. Congrats on baby Eva! And, I think you should keep the @babywaldow Twitter name ... at least until there is a #2.

Molly White
Molly White

She's a beauty! Congratulations!! Loved this blog too b/c I am getting to write one about nearly the same thing, except mine involves the injury of my 3yo little girl on Thursday. She broke her jaw and I was able to keep everyone updated through the use of social media. It really has changed the way we communicate and I think for the better.

Enjoy every moment, and sleep when you can!

DJ Waldow
DJ Waldow

Her mom is pretty cool too ... as is her professional photographer.

dj

DJ Waldow
DJ Waldow

Hi Tristan! Thanks so much for commenting. Eva Claire is very excited to meet you too. You should ask Mom about making a trip to visit in Salt Lake City soon. Does that sound good? Tell her Uncle D has a free ticket she can have!

Love you Tristan. Say hi to your sisters for me. Give them a big hug and kiss!

Love,
Uncle D

DJ Waldow
DJ Waldow

Ann! Thanks for stopping by. Where is that mugshot of yours? No avatar? Time to get that gravatar - http://en.gravatar.com/

This dad stuff is great.

dj

DJ Waldow
DJ Waldow

Thanks Krista! She is pretty good looking huh? Ha ha.

dj

DJ Waldow
DJ Waldow

Aunt Suzi! That was very kind of you to say...very very kind.

Love you too!

dj

DJ Waldow
DJ Waldow

Andrew -

Thanks so much for joining the conversation. My world is already changing - for the better!

dj

DJ Waldow
DJ Waldow

Scott -

Great advice. I'll need to print these comments out! Can't wait to receive the secret handshake. Stay positive? Me? Okay. I'll try.

dj

DJ Waldow
DJ Waldow

Karima-Catherine -

Yeah, Chris nailed it, huh? Thanks for adding your thoughts and welcome to the blog!

dj

DJ Waldow
DJ Waldow

CP:

If there was a way Disqus would allow me to favorite this comment, I would (I did click "like"). While I realize that this world is no longer mine, that fact has not entirely set in ... yet. I know that it will. I know that you are right.

I'm enjoying every second. I stare at her for hours at a time. Wild stuff. Loving it. LOVING. IT.

Thanks again for stopping by and adding such insightful thoughts.

dj

DJ Waldow
DJ Waldow

Sharon:

Yikes! I really hope I can maintain that balance for Eva. The truth is - as Arina made me think about in her comments above - is that it really is not my choice. I mean, I can't predict how she will be as she grows up. I can influence her, but at the end of the day, she's going to be how she is, right?

dj

DJ Waldow
DJ Waldow

Dad - I like your new name, warrendadwaldow. Very nice! Am I ready for Eva? Gosh. I hope so as she is 3 ft from me right now!

Thanks for continuing to read (and comment), Dad/Grandpa.

djer

DJ Waldow
DJ Waldow

Arina -

Yeah. I struggle with that part too...having "respect my child's eventual desire for privacy." I mean, how do I know how she is going to be. Will she be more social like me or...? Right?

Hmmm - Now you've really got me thinking!

dj

DJ Waldow
DJ Waldow

Ilina:

That is great about "Bird" and "Deal." Too funny!

Eva is kinda cute, huh?

dj

DJ Waldow
DJ Waldow

Michael - Thanks for stopping by. Much appreciated. I'm honored to be in such a cool club. Ha ha. You make an interesting point about "fatherly pride" vs. "digital record." I hope it can be both.

dj

DJ Waldow
DJ Waldow

Thank you, Sue Anne. Great advice about keeping the @babywaldow name. I'm still thinking this one over. I did lock up @evawaldow too as a placeholder, so...

dj

DJ Waldow
DJ Waldow

Thanks, Molly! Sorry to hear about your little girl! I hope she's okay. Agree that SM has changed the way we communicate. I think I need to build out this post a bit more. I struggled as I really wanted it to be about Eva, but...

Thanks for stopping by!

dj