You’re in hospital recovering from birth, your friends are going to receive a text or post soon, but then Aunt Bessie goes and beats you to the punch with a congratulations post on your Facebook timeline – #thanksalot! Here are the dos and don’ts of social media when it comes to other people’s baby announcements.
Not your news
We get it, people get so excited when it comes to anything to do with babies, especially family and friends. But the fact is, unless it’s your baby or you’ve personally been given the all clear, it’s not your news to tell. This includes announcing news such as:
- The baby’s gender
- When the mother has gone into labour
- That the baby’s been born
- The baby’s name or other details
- Miscarriage, loss of a baby or a baby’s medical condition
If you are lucky enough to be told exciting or sensitive news about someone else’s baby and it’s not yet common knowledge, here’s a list of what NOT to do:
- Tell anyone else – Sounds simple enough, but you’d be surprised at how quickly even an unrelated connection of yours (work colleague or old neighbour perhaps?) who you tell in confidence might unknowingly spread the news by some means and then it ends up on social media.
- Post anything on social media – Whatever you do, don’t write anything on the parent’s wall or post photos (like those from your hospital visit or sent via text from the mum or dad) without their permission. Even a cryptic post without specific details can get people guessing.
- Be careful on social media – It’s easy to make mistakes, you mean to write a personal message on Facebook but instead broadcast it on their timeline instead, or perhaps you make a casual comment on someone else’s post and refer to the baby as “her” or post a photo of the pink toy elephant you’re gifting them when the gender hasn’t officially been revealed yet. Stop and think before you post!
- Be careful with photos and videos – It’s not just birth pictures to be wary of, some people don’t like their children displayed on social media at all so it’s worth checking with parents before you post ANY photos of their child – even if it’s super cute and not compromising in any way.
And here’s what you SHOULD do if you know someone else’s news:
- Keep your lips shut!
- Wait for the parents to make any baby announcements themselves
- Don’t post anything on social media without checking it’s okay first (that goes for husbands too – she might not want that birth video up on YouTube after all!)
- Be sensitive to the child and parents with any posts (i.e. no horrible photos, photoshop jobs or nasty comments)
- Think of other ways to express your sympathy or support (in the event of baby loss or illness) other than social media
Tips for parents
We know it’s a very exciting time, or perhaps you need the support of friends or family, however to be safe it’s best to be careful about who you tell important baby news and information to. Make sure you and your partner are on the same page with this, and let anyone you tell know that it’s private and to remain with them only (this MIGHT slow down a gossipy mother-in-law!). And if a friend or relative can’t be trusted not to blab or doesn’t understand how social media works, then delay telling them any news just to be sure.
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As long as you’re selective about who you tell, clear about what is and isn’t okay, and let them know when they CAN be open on social media (if that’s fine with you), then this will give you a lot more control over your baby news being shared online.
Was your baby announcement ruined by someone else?