New Moms on Facebook: What's Appropriate?by April Sperry
Facebook is supposed to be for reconnecting with old friends and communicating with current pals, but if you and your friends are nearing “that age,” you’ll likely have noticed that it’s being taken over by babies.
If people are talking more about yesterday’s baby shower than last night’s frat party, you’re reaching that critical point. Your turn is approaching. At some point, you’ll be expecting and want to shout it from the rafters. Take a second to collect your thoughts, though.
This isn’t to say that proud parents shouldn’t mention their bouncy, new babies on Facebook, but there are guidelines. Facebook is a social media outlet, not a scrapbook. Here are some guidelines on how to show off your newborn without making your friends want to log off for good.
Baby photos are (almost) always a hit. When you’ve got a newborn and every hiccup and burp is endearing, you’re going to want to capture everything on film. Your friends will want to see most (but not all) aspects of your newborns existence.
Show us this:
An adorably swaddled photo or two from the day of the big push: Face it, you’re going to take those pictures in the hospital anyway. Share please!
Timeline cover photo of the happy new family: Your family just got a little bigger! Showing your family in a timeline photo lets everyone know how happy you all are without having to switch out any photos that show who the Facebook page belongs to.
Ages and growth: Baby, with a sign saying “I’m X months old today!” We’re also totally okay with pics from baby’s first birthday party.
But please, please don’t show us this:
Any photograph taken during or directly after the moment of truth: This means no photos showing any fluids that were involved in the birthing process. Save the camera for when baby and mom are both cleaned up.
Default profile pictures of your sonogram or your baby: You are an adult woman, not a fetus or newborn. Timeline photos are fine; profile pictures are not.
Photo-A-Day updates on baby: On any given day, chances are good that your little one will look exactly like he did yesterday, and our newsfeeds are busy enough, as it is. If you’re going to take a picture every day, keep them in an offline album.
Pregnancy-Tracker Apps: Yes, your friends and family are terribly excited that you’re about to push a tiny you into the world, but they don’t need a weekly update of your fetus’s development. If you want to find out at what week your little one develops ears or starts to swim around in your amniotic fluid, that’s fine, but please don’t share. To the general public, that sort of information can be a little too close for comfort to what’s growing in your tum-tum.
Everyone loves to hear about baby! Again though, there are limits. While we want to hear about the big moments, remember that Facebook is not Twitter, which means that we don’t need blow-by-blow updates of every time little Johnny burps or spits up his strained carrots all over you.
Go ahead, tell us about this:
The announcements: After you alert family and close friends through a more personal method of communication (i.e. phone call or visit), Facebook is a great way to let others know either that you’re expecting, or that the baby has arrived.
The big firsts: We absolutely want to hear about baby’s first steps, words, giggles, and outings to the park. Firsts are important and adorable. We’ll allow it.
Playdates with other neighborhood babies: Maybe you can get a few more moms and babies in on the fun!
Keep this to yourself:
The more unsavory aspects of parenthood: Please don’t share your baby’s diarrhea, spit-up, or breastfeeding habits with the rest of us. We’re totally fine thinking of babies as cute and pink giggle-machines.
Your daily schedule: So you’re not getting out of the house as much as you used to. We know that you want someone to talk to, but we don’t want to hear about how you changed three diapers, did four loads of laundry, watched The Wiggles, and made dinner, and now you’re just exhausted! That’s diary-entry fodder, not Facebook-conversation.
Couple issues: Dad might not be totally up to the challenge of waking up at 4am to change a smelly diaper or coming straight home after work without hitting the bar. If your partner's not stepping up to the parental plate in a way that you find satisfactory, discuss it in the privacy of your own home. Facebook is not and never will be an appropriate place to air your relationship grievances.
Are you a viewer, rather than a poster?
Have you seen one too many baby pictures on Facebook? Feeling bitter and inconsolable? Well lucky for you (and for the rest of us who don't want our social media playground to feel so much like an actual playground), there's a fix. The collective genius of exasperated Facebook users Chris Baker, Peter Marquis, and Yvonne Cheng, has birthed an app called Unbaby.me. It's a Chrome extension that identifies Facebook profile pictures of baby and replaces them with "awesome stuff."
What's awesome? How about kittens, puppies (baby animals are way more innocuous than baby humans), bacon, cars, or optical illusions? All of these things do indeed sound way more awesome than pictures of our friends' children.
Castigate us if you must for gushing about Unbaby.me, but it received 2,000 likes within 30 minutes of being launched, so it's not just us. It's now received 40,000 likes from satisfied users who no longer have to see their friends sticky-nosed kids on Facebook.
How do you get it? Click the big "Add to Chrome" button at the bottom of the Unbaby.me site and the refresh your Facebook page. Poof. Gone are the little cherubs, and sitting in their place are way, way more awesome photos.
What do you think is appropriate for new parents to post on Facebook? Tell us in the comments below!