Facebook owns your boobs

I hate to admit it but I first read about Facebook bannning breastfeeding on Paul Walsh’s blog and considering he has never breastfed in his life to my knowledge and he doesn’t reveal whether he has supported the breastfeeding of his own children, he is certainly as he calls himself the Irish Opportunist. Talk about jumping on the bandwagon. This is apparently a common tactic among bloggers of which innocent little me was unaware. Blogging about trending topics will pull traffic towards your site. You can find out about trending topics on the likes of Twitscoop for example.

Anyhoo, as anyone who has been reading this blog since day one will know, I breastfed both of my children for the WHO recommended period of six months. However I wasn’t trying to live up to any international standard: I went back to work after six months. I did try to continue with Nipper 1.0 after going back to work but it was just too weird and hard with the stress and the cycling and being away from him so I stopped. Unfortunately it took the ol’ milk machines a while to catch up but I learnt my lesson well.

I am lucky in that most of the women in my family breastfed and I can actually remember one of my aunts breastfeeding. According to a study published in the IMJ women’s previous experience of breastfeeding, their education level and their early decision to breastfeed are significant indicators in the length of time women would breastfeed so I consider myself lucky. It also had a generally positive experience although I did experience some problems especially with Nipper 2.0. I partly blame myself because I had a lot going on at the time as well with the house being renovated. A great help for me in continuing was the Breastfeeding Support Group in Rathgar run by the Public Health Nurses in the area.

However not all women are as lucky to be able to fulfill their biological destiny and use their bodies to their full potential. Similarly not all of us are Olympic athletes or can even jog around the block. All of us have different physical and mental thresholds and this goes for breastfeeding as it does for all activities that require not just physical perseverance and mental perseverance too. Top athletes always thank their support team when they win a prize and similarly a modern woman choosing to breastfeed needs the support of family and friends to do this. Top athletes will also talk about how their mental well-being was an essential part of their winning formula. Similarly I think feeling good about oneself and being confident about you body is essential to being able to continue breastfeeding.

Sadly I am in a minority and by the time I had reached even month two of breastfeeding the minority was getting even smaller:

Currently approximately 47% of mothers in Ireland are breastfeeding at discharge from maternity care (NPRS, 2008). Breastfeeding duration rate figures are not currently collected at national level, however, research studies indicate the fall-off in breastfeeding following discharge is worryingly high with less than 10% of infants still breastfeeding at 6 months of age.
From Breastfeeding.ie

What has all of this got to do with Facebook’s ban on pictures of breastfeeding women? As far as I’m concerned the central issue is not Facebook banning pictures of breastfeeding women: Facebook is not a democracy, they can ban pics of whatever they damn well please. What is at issue is the fact that somewhere once upon a time breasts, boobs, tits, hooters, jugs, jabs, knockers, puppies, bazoobas, (and Himself just added kajungas…) and whatever you’re calling them yourself stopped belonging to the women they were attached to and became the property of the people looking at them. The problem is not that breasts are sexual objects as well as the point of delivery for food, nurturing and comforting for babies. The problem is that they are rarely positively represented in the latter role and far too often represented in the former role but in a hyper, unreal, impossible manner to which it is difficult for many women to even dream of comparing themselves. If you feel your boobs don’t measure up to the Baywatch boobs it’s very hard to get ’em out in public. If you think that people only see them as sexual it’s discomfiting to get ’em out in public.

The irony of the whole Facebook campaign is the fact that once you upload pictures to Facebook, according to their terms and conditions, Facebook then owns those pictures. As one guy I was talking to about this last week said, “Expect the world’s largest stock photo site to be launched by Facebook in a few years…” Well, it looks like all those campaigns to encourage breastfeeding (which campaigns? Exactly!) will have to use real stock photo sites for their tasteful imagery of breastfeeding women.

To finish up here’s two points from someone who’s been there done that (breastfed, not appeared on Baywatch or sold my boobs to Facebook.)

  1. The best thing about breastfeeding is that it gives you total freedom. As a former colleague of mine said once, “All you’ll need is a nappy in your back pocket and off you can go!”. This is so true. I also really think that once you get the hang of it you will sleep better too because you can do it in your sleep. All you have to do is wake up to latch the baby on and even then it’s not as disturbing as some of the carry on you get from then when they are older. I actually found it quite relaxing when I got the hang of it with Nipper 2.0. I was too nervous to have Nipper 1.0 in the bed with me but I generally dozed through all the feeds anyway. You can also go on holidays without having to worry about bringing or finding suitable formula. You can feed the baby indoor and out, on the beach, in the car (not while driving though!), anywhere that you can sit down with a glass of water and relax.
  2. The beauty of breastfeeding is that with all the modern nursing bras you can be very discreet when feeding. You’ll need to wear loose clothing or bring a large scarf. When you get really good at it (and you will!) a Happy Baby Sling is a great help if you want to feed on the move (although it seems that they are no longer making them). I fed Nipper 2.0 while browsing for door handles in B&Q. Y’see I wasn’t messing when I said I overdid it!

If you’re expecting a baby and considering breastfeeding I say go for it. You’ll have to have a supportive family and your partner should be willing to take on ALL other responsibilities certainly for the first two weeks and even up to six while both of you get the hang of it. It will stand to the whole family in the long run.

Abigailsong, claps and King Kong

Abigail is playing at the King Kong Club on October the 16th at 9pm with her band. Come along and support her – I’m hoping to be there too. It’s a free and fun night. Tasters of lots of great bands. 5 Acts play three songs each. Then you clap loudest for your favourite band….it better be Abigailsong!! Abigail says “Ah no, everyone who gets up and shares their music is a winner. I’m looking forward to it. Bring your Granny.” You can let her know about your imminent attendance on Facebook or listen to her on MySpace.

Check out the King Kong page for more details on http://www.myspace.com/kingkongclub

Image from Abigail’s Facebook Event

Now you can own your own short commercial break.

We7: Getting Closer to a Workable Model for Free Music Downloads – ReadWriteWeb: “The music industry is in desperate need of new models and an interesting one got some financial support today. We7 announced today that it’s raised $6 million from Peter Gabriel and Spark Ventures.

The UK site offers DRM-free MP3 downloads with super-short ads preceding each song – for the first 4 weeks after download. Once a month you can select 20 tracks to remove the ad clips from, any additional ad removal will cost 20 pence (about 39 cents) per song.”

It’s very complicated isn’t it? That seems to be the main issue with We7 in articles that I have read on and off. Personally I love LastFM but they are not getting the support that We7 seems to be enjoying. I get new music from Amie St. as well so my ears are being broadened, sometimes painfully!

(I started writing this a little while ago, lost my train of thought…)

Bheadh spéis agam cloisteáil céard a cheapann na ceoltóirí faoin gceann seo. Ó mo thaithí féin ag plé podchraoladh leis na ceoltóirí i mo chlann féin, ní miste leo má labhrann tú thar roinnt den amhrán, ag an mbun nó an mbarr mar shampla, mar bhealach éifeachtach chun é a chosaint. Cé nach ionann é dar liom taispeánann sé go bhfuil ceoltóirí oscailte a fhad is a bhfuil muinín acu ionat.

I recently read Nicholas Carr’s new book “The Big Switch” as I was participating as a panellist on Soiscéal Pháraic. At least a chapter of that book is concerned with how technologists and technology companies are making big bucks out of creatives who are using their platforms to share their ouevres (MySpace, Blogger (Google), YouTube etc.). In a way musicians are lucky that they have the likes of Paul McGuinness to fight their corner albeit in an entirely wrongheaded fashion. Writers, animators, artists, basically all other artists whose work can be digitised haven’t been able to make the switch to digital with the kind of support that music is getting, partly because there was never the same level of “hangers on” 😀 to support with their art. Brilliant to have that freedom in some ways but unless something is done to change the current model for delivery and consumption of creative digital work there will be a lot of poor AND lonely artists and writers out there. Well they can always make friends on Twitter, Facebook etc. Now I must ask my family to contribte their thoughts, them being neither poor nor lonely artists although I would say none of them would turn down a lotto win.

Bhuail mé léi ar líne – mar a gheall mé!

ireland.com – The Irish Times – Wed, Jan 23, 2008 – Ní aithne go ar líne
Ní aithne go ar líne

Roseanne Smith
(This is the text of the article that I wrote for The Irish Times last week. Basically wonders about why people are so surprised by friendships that grow online when nearly all the world doesn’t think twice about doing business with near strangers, using all sorts of technology.)

Beocheist: Bhuail mé léi ar líne. Nuair a chloistear an abairt sin is idir magadh is dáiríre a bhíonn aghaidh an éisteora. Conas gur féidir leat muinín bheith agat as duine nár bhuail tú riamh leis nó léi?

Conas gur féidir caidreamh ceart, caidreamh macánta, caidreamh réadúil bheith agat le duine ar bhuail tú leis nó léi ar líne? Is dócha gur ar chumann rómánsach a smaoiníonn formhór na ndaoine nuair a luann tú gur bhuail tú le duine ar líne.

Caithfidh gur bealach tarraingteach é chun buaileadh le daoine nó n’fheadar an bhfuil dul amú ar an 40 milliún Meiriceánach a bhí ag úsáid seirbhísí dáta ar líne de réir figiúirí ó 2003? B’shin thart fá leath na ndaoine singil sa tír sin ag an am de réir taighde ó Choláiste Ollscoile Berkeley.

Samhlaigh dá mbeadh an dara leath de na leannáin ar líne ag an am céanna, b’fhéidir nach mbeadh ‘singileach’ ar bith fágtha i SAM! Cá bhfios céard iad na himpleachtaí polaitiúla, eacnamaíocha nó sóisialta a bheadh ina leithéid de saol úr cróga?

Is margadh luachmhar é margadh an ghrá. Tá am agus iarracht curtha agus á chur sa mhargadh seo ag forbróirí bogearraí líonraithe. Gach seans go mbíonn níos mó ráth ar lucht seilge an ghrá ar líne ná mar a bhíonn orthu sa phub de bharr an ama agus na hiarrachta seo. Agus toisc ráth na mbogearraí seo mar upa dóibh siúd atá mar othar don ghrá, thosaigh na forbróirí ar seilg margaí úra.

De réir figiúirí sa nuachtán seo tá 190,000 Éireannach cláraithe le Facebook faoi láthair. Bí cinnte go bhfuil Éireannaigh de gach aois chomh tógtha céanna le myspace agus bebo agus suímh Idirlín eile ar a bhfuil líonrú sóisialta mar bhunaidhm.

Timpeall na cruinne tá 57 milliún úsáideoir gníomhach cláraithe le Facebook. De réir na bhfigiúirí is déanaí ó Technorati tá 50 milliún blag ann. Ach cad a mheallann na milliúin ball seo?

Ligeann na suímh seo dá mbaill líonrú lena chéile. Bíonn siad ag déanamh plé faoi na hábhair gur spéis leo, ag taispeáint grianghraif dá chéile, ag roinnt físeanna digiteacha, ag cruthú is ag imirt cluichí agus ag poibliú imeachtaí agus ag ceannach is ag díol gach uile rud faoin spéir. Go minic ní bhíonn aithne ag na daoine seo ar a chéile ach go fíorúil agus, a mhalairt le lucht seilge an ghrá, is cuma leo má bhuaileann siad leis na daoine seo i gclí riamh. Níl ann ach caitheamh aimsire.

Nuair atá post leadránach agat nó nuair atá tú ag iarraidh briseadh ón staidéar tá a leithéid de shuíomh níos spéisiúla ná cluiche eile Patience. Séard a mheallann na baill ar ais arís is arís eile ná tuiscint cheart ar an spriocmargadh agus áit lárnach teicneolaíochtaí an eolais ina saoil. De ghnáth, feidhmíonn na suímh mar ba chóir agus fanann teaghlaigh agus cairde scaipthe i dteagmháil lena chéile.

Ach uaireanta teipeann ar na córais seo mar a tharla le déanaí don bhfear a cheannaigh fáinne geallta dá ghrá geal ar líne, eolas a rinne Facebook a fhoilsiú go huathoibríoch dá chairde ar fad, a chailín san áireamh!

Tá blagadóir a scríobhann ar Scripting.com ag cur na ceiste cén fáth go mbíonn an t-eolas luachmhar seo faoi céard is fearr agus is fuath linn á stóráil ag na comhlachtaí in ionad againne féin? Ba chóir go mbeadh an t-eolas seo faoinár smacht féin, dar leis. Ba chóir go mbeadh a leithéid Amazon agus ITunes srl, atá ag tuilleadh airgead mór as aithne a chur orainn, sásta íoc as an eolas sin trí, ar a laghad, tairiscintí an-speisialta.

Tá an chuid is mó de na hollmhargaí sásta íoc as ár ndílseacht: cén fáth nach leanann na comhlachtaí móra ar líne a sampla? Ach fós bheadh na cinicí ag croitheadh na gcloigne: conas gur féidir caidreamh a chothú ar líne? I dtaighde a rinne an comhlacht Habeas dúirt 73 faoin gcéad de na freagóirí go n-úsáideann siad r-phost gach uile lá. Sin gach uile lá. Dúirt 61 faoin gcéad de na freagróirí go mbeadh sé deacair orthu maireachtáil gan r-phost. Beidh sé deacair é seo a chreidiúnt ach níl na figiúirí agam ar líon na r-phostanna atá ag cothú caidrimh idir daoine nár bhuail lena chéile riamh.

Ach tá oibrithe i gcomhlachtaí ag déanamh gnó, náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta, ar luach na mílte euro, thar an Idirlíon trí r-phost gan súil a leagadh ar an duine eile riamh. An mbeadh borradh eacnamaíoch an oileáin seo tar éis tarlúint gan an nós seo?

Bhuail mé léi ar líne. Phléamar cúrsaí an tsaoil. Céard é an difríocht idir sin agus gnó a dhéanamh thar r-phost, thar fón nó dóibh siúd atá go hiomlán greamaithe san aois dheireanach, thar faics?

© 2008 The Irish Times – YAY!!

Tús maith leath na hoibre

Mo chéad lá mar dhuine “ar scith” agus seo mar a thosnaigh mé: ag breathnú amach ar radharc álainn Bhinn Eadair ó shléibhte Áth Cliath. Thug mé síob do Lilbro who is recording the soundtrack for Lance Daly’s latest feature “Kisses” in this amazing gaff up past Kiltiernan. I met two other members of the post-production crew. Lovely people who are enjoying the seasonal splendour in an amazing location and getting paid for it – lucky suckers!

Coming back from An tOireachtas in Westport at the weekend(roinnt grianghraf ag Oireachtas 07) I realised that Autumn is past her best and the winter is on her way. Autumn is my favourite season and it was great being driven across the country because as a passenger I was really able to drink in the golds, reds, yellows, oranges and browns. The last dance before the long sleep.

Today is the beginning of a new era for me. The first time I have ever been unemployed since I had half an hour to get from my last Drama Studies exam to my first job in RTÉ. That is not to say that I am going to spending loads of time blogging. Small matter of a large thesis due at the end of January. This change in circumstance couldn’t have happened at a better time.

So obviously I have been doing a lot of thinking about my strengths and my ambitions and while chatting at dinner the other day I had a terrible realisation. When I arrived home at last from An tOireachtas, the boys were all watching “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” which was quickly followed by some very creative Lego work, resulting in three spaceships. At some point Himself pointed out to G that there is no up or down in space which is the reason why many astronauts get spacesick and the bottom fell out of my world. I suddenly realised that all my plans to be the first Gaelgeoir in outer space would come to naught as I wouldn’t even be able to make it on the bus to the spaceship without puking on my colleagues shoes. So now what am I going to do? I suppose I can still work on that “extra in Star Trek” plan… Are they still making Star Trek. Maybe I should aim for Dr. Who or that other one they’re making in Wales which wouldn’t involve too much travelling. Although the ferry OH GOD. It’s never going to happen, is it?

Back to reality. A few people have been asking me where to get StarLittleThing’s new album “It’s Easy to be Alive You Just Are”. Apparently Tower Records off Grafton Street have been restocked or you could try Road Records on Drury St (or is it Fade St. It is.) in Dublin. And for the virtual among you it can be bought at www.myspace.com/starlittlething or on ITunes. Now I don’t mean to be rude but would ya ever stop reading and go and buy your copy now!

Oh no just one more thing: like a total sheep I’ve given into peer pressure and joined Facebook. You’re the experts you find me.