Never Ruin Your Friend’s Big News By Blabbing It On Facebook

big mouthAfter the birth of my second child, I sent a few photos of her in hospital to some close friends and family. Admittedly it felt strange, but I made sure to include the disclaimer Please don’t post these anywhere. It felt a little odd to say something like that, but I just wanted to quickly be sure we were all on the same page.

It’s not that I didn’t intend to post pictures of my child – it’s how all of my friends who live in other states and countries have seen my children. I just wanted to be able to take the time to make the decision about photos when I wasn’t looped up on meds, in pain, and wearing a paper dress.

The idea of not posting friend’s news via photos is probably common sense – but what about sharing the news at all? Is it okay to blab on Facebook when you get the call that your friend is on the way to the hospital? I honestly never really thought about this until I read a story about social media etiquette regarding sharing other people’s news today. The gist? Don’t. Seems reasonable to me.

A friend told me how she spent the morning after her son’s birth apologising to family members who found out about the arrival via social media, after a friend heard the news and posted a congratulatory message on the new mum’s Facebook page.

“We sent a text to our closest friends and family, but we didn’t expect they would jump on Facebook straight away before we had a chance to call family overseas,” the disappointed mum said.

“She revealed the gender, weight, name and everything in the post. There was nothing left for us to reveal!”

I’m racking my brain to think if I’ve ever done something like this and I would gladly like to report that, no – I have not. Not because I am great at keeping secrets, but because I am usually pretty bad at keeping up with Facebook news. By the time I know about things like this, I’m the last person to send a congratulatory message, usually under the “thanks” message my friend sends regarding all of the congratulatory messages. I guess there are some perks to lagging behind.

Another woman remembers her mother announcing to all her Facebook friends that her daughter was on the way to hospital to be induced with baby number two. Needless to say the mum-to-be didn’t appreciate all the phone calls from excited aunties and uncles wishing her good luck just as the midwife was preparing to break her waters.

Never even thought about how annoying this would be, but I totally get it. The hours before labor are focus time – not sure I’d want to hear my husband’s phone vibrating constantly. I guess he could just turn it off – but the point is solid; wait patiently for news like this. Also, what if it’s a false alarm? I know those aren’t that common, but it would be kind of a bummer to be sent home from the hospital and be greeted with a bunch of Facebook messages congratulating you on your bundle of joy.

It’s good to remember that when you are talking about other people’s news, it really shouldn’t be shared – just responded to. I think that is a considerate rule of thumb, regardless of how uptight people may or may not be about the details of their lives being shared.

(photo: Flickr/ Creative Commons/ riboassi)

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