By Lyz Lenz
Facebook is a rough and tumble jungle of innuendo, TMI and annoyance. But it’s also the easiest way to share updates about your child to family and friends who are far away. But for many parents, balance the share with the over share, the information with the too much information, becomes a little bit of a balancing act.
The mysterious B, who runs stfuparentsblog.com, a site dedicated to mocking parents who over share on Facebook, notes, “No one sets out to become the kind of parent who ends up on STFU Parents. It’s important to know when to edit.”
But avoiding Facebook over share is hard for many parents. Nicole Perri, social media and community manager for Diapers.com, believes that most parents come by their over share honestly: “Parents are full of advice, especially for new Moms and Dads.
They have already gone through the sleepless nights and worries and they are happy to relieve a lot of that stress. They are so giving and supportive that I can’t help but fall in love with them again and again,” but this out pouring of advice can also turn people off to you, your kid and your Facebook feed. So, in order to avoid alienating your friends and the people who love you, here are 5 Facebook etiquette tips every new parent should keep in mind.
1. Avoid “Mommyjacking”
Loosely defined, mommyjacking involves, hijacking someone’s Facebook status/picture or other media, in order to talk about your children. According to B, “mommyjacking” complaints are second only to complaints about parents posting about poop. “With the mommyjacking, what can I say? People really enjoy finding an opening (where there sometimes isn’t one) to talk about their children. It’s an epidemic!”
Notes Perri, “Other parents will understand and share your joy. Your former co-workers who are still hitting the bars every night? Not so much.”
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2. Keep the bathroom in the bathroom
What is it about parents and poop? Notes B, “I have probably read—and seen —a description of every single type of bathroom behavior you can think of. Diaper explosions, pooping in the bathtub, potty training accidents at the store, finger painting with poop on the wall, constipation…I’ve actually got individual folders for all those with multiple submissions in each one.”
And it’s not always in good fun either. Perri notes that there is a darker side to posting seemingly innocent pictures of your kid in the bathtub or sans their diaper. “We all have that picture of us in the bathtub as a baby. There’s nothing wrong with it but even with the best privacy settings there’s a chance that your innocent photo can up in front of some unsavory characters.”
“Generally speaking, any time an individual uploads a video, photo or any other piece of content to a social networking site or blog there is a chance that you are releasing ownership and agreeing to have your content released to the public.”
3. Stick to the milestones
Facebook is the best way to share your baby’s first steps, first tooth and that hilarious Halloween outfit. But if your feed is oversaturated with baby stuff, don’t be surprised if you start annoying your friends. “Share the milestones. Walking, talking, first day of school – these are achievements that you can and should be proud of,” says B. “But don’t oversaturate your feed with tidbits about your baby, because your friends are friends with YOU. They still want to know how you’re doing, too. If more than half of your Facebook feed is about your baby, your friends probably miss you and are starting to not care about whether your baby was cranky after his nap. Try to find a happy medium and pay attention to how your friends respond.”
Perri adds, “The color of your child’s poop this morning or detailing your daily battles with hemorrhoids from pregnancy are simply TMI. There are friends who will support you and want to know this information but choose another form of personal communication like e-mail or phone calls.”
4. Keep your kid in mind
One day your child will grow up and will have to face the fact that there are pictures of his private parts on Facebook. Says B, “Whether your profile is set to “private” or not, [what you post is] going to be in Google cache well into your now-infant’s teenage years, college years and beyond. And something tells me a lot of these kids aren’t going to be thrilled when they get older and discover pictures of themselves covered in poop online. (Or maybe they will…anything’s possible!)”
5. If you wouldn’t tell a stranger, don’t put it on Facebook
This, according to B, is the golden rule of posting anything on Facebook and applies to everyone, not just parents. “If you wouldn’t discuss it with a total stranger, don’t put it on Facebook. Put it on a personal blog, or discuss it with friends in person (if you think they really want to hear about your dog eating your baby’s umbilical cord stump). Social networking is a very public exercise that some people mistakenly think of as private. But nothing is private when it’s being shared with hundreds of people.”
In the end, though, what you put on Facebook sends a message about who you are and if that message says, “I LOVE MY KID”, you can hardly go wrong.
About the Author:
Lyz Lenz is a writer, a mom and a midwesterner. Although, not in that order. She lives in Iowa and on the web at LyzLenz.com
Avoid the dreaded Facebook “TMI” with these helpful and hilarious tips.