Social media birth announcement etiquette

This one isn’t about the announcement of being pregnant — you know the cute “Big Brother 2018” shirts we see on Facebook. No. I love that stuff (for the most part; some people do try too hard). This is about what happens when the baby is born. And honestly, as a doula, it can drive me bonkers.

Let me keep the one golden, hallmark, shall-never-be-violated rule as quick and easy as possible:

What happens with the baby’s initial appearance on social media (if at all) is completely up to the parents of that child.

No one else really gets a say, whether you’re the BFF, the aunt, the grandmother, the first-time grandmother, or whoever else.

In the last year alone, I’ve seen:

  • People get tagged by relatives/friends as they’re headed to the hospital (maybe they didn’t want people to know)
  • Friends showing up and tagging the baby in a picture before the parents have had a chance to
  • Moms being tagged (sometimes with pics!) while in labor
  • Because people set up social automation for their business pages without any rhyme or reason, some of this stuff is going over to LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. — when clearly it was intended for Facebook alone and maybe Instagram or some such

This is really bad. Don’t be a person that does this stuff. There are lots of reasons, including:

Privacy concerns: OK, showing a newborn at Hour 2 of his/her life might not get him tagged by marketers just yet, but some parents have legitimate privacy concerns. They will end up creating a private Shutterstock or something and not splash their newborn all over social. If you are violating that concept at Hour II, well, this might be a long — or short, because they’ll cut you out of their lives — road with the parents.

It’s not your story to tell: Imagine if the tables were flipped. You had a kid or some other major life event. Before you can share it in exactly the way you want with the right words and context, your friend shares it. Now tons of people know — but you didn’t control the images or message. Would you be sad? Many would be. So don’t do it back to another person.

It’s not your responsibility: … unless someone specifically tells you it is. By “someone” I mean one of the two people connected to the production of said newborn.

Social media is hyper-comparison on steroids anyway: And it’s probably making the rat race worse and increasing depression. Thousands of people will see these baby photos. I get that you want it to come from you to prove you’re the best friend or the fun aunt, but really … no. Just stop. Let it happen how the people with responsibility for that child want it to happen.

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