Cell phone technology has grown exponentially since the first Motorola rolled out in 1973. In a very short forty-three years, mobile telecommunication technology has evolved from a four-and-a-half pound brick that could only make phone calls, to a slim, 128 gram super computer on which you can hail a cab, monitor your checking account, play games, and access the complete knowledge of the internet … all at your finger tips.
During this extraordinary technological boom, we also entered into a social media revolution, a time when we feel compelled to blindly share every moment of our lives on a public forum in the hopes that someone will click the “like” button, as if we’re looking for some sort of acknowledgment or positive reinforcement for what we’re doing.
While I’ve come to accept many of today’s norms with social media (although I wouldn’t be upset of the Foodie and Selfie died a quick and painful death … ), there are some things, call them etiquettes, that I really think people should learn to obey. In this post, I want to specifically focus on post-baby status updates by people who are NOT the parents.
Let me explain …
The birth of your child (especially your first child) is a very special moment in your life. As parents, you – and you alone – should be the bearer of this news and you should be able to deliver whenever and however you want.
For some parents, such as one Twitter employee, sharing minute-to-minute updates of the birth of your child on your Twitter feed is absolutely normal. For others the time during and immediately after labor is a private time for mommy, daddy, and baby only.
As friends and family of those who are about to have a child, it’s understandable to be excited to share the news, but it should come with only a shred of common sense to put down your phone, shut down your Snap Chat, and leave this precious, once in a lifetime, experience (and the announcement of it afterward) to the new parents.
If you get a text message or phone call from a new parent, please take note of how the message was delivered. Your first instinct shouldn’t be to immediately fire up your Facebook app and write a congratulatory message with a string of baby related emojis to post on their wall.
In reality, you should just be happy that you’re close enough to the family that you’re someone they decided to call or text with this extraordinary news and not someone who had to find out after-the-fact as you scroll through your newsfeed for the hundredth time that day.
If you find yourself in a situation where you’re not sure if you should post something, here are a few things to think about before you do: Have the parents posted anything yet? If the answer is no, then you shouldn’t post anything either. Have the parents given you permission to post about it? Chances are, the parents are so caught up with the joy of having a new child that they weren’t thinking about telling people whether or not they can post something. If there’s doubt, ask. The parents will let you know what they want.
In summary, having a child is a special moment. The birth of a child only happens once. Don’t be the idiot who ruins the moment for the new parents by posting the news online before the parents do.
If you’re interested in learning more about social media etiquette, I suggest you check out this article by Forbes. It has a list of 12 questions everyone should ask themselves before posting anything online.