“Don’t steal my thunder!” Social media etiquette for other people’s baby news

Posted in Entertainment and Technology.

So, you’re in hospital recovering from birth and joyfully composing a text to friends and family, when Aunty Margaret goes and beats you to the punch with a big old “Congratulations!!” post on your Facebook timeline. Thanks a lot, Aunty Marg. To make sure you don’t turn into Aunt Margaret, here are the dos and don’ts of social media when it comes to other people’s baby announcements. 

Remember: it’s not your news to tell

People get so excited about 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 the following announcements:

  • Pregnancy
  • 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

The don’ts

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 how quickly even a distant connection of yours (work colleague or old neighbour) might unknowingly spread the news 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 meant to write a personal message on Facebook but instead it turns out you’ve accidentally 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 before the gender has officially been revealed. 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.


The do’s

And here’s what you SHOULD do if you know someone else’s news:

  • Keep your mouth shut!
  • Wait for the parents to make any baby announcements themselves
  • Check that whatever you’re posting is 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 insensitive comments)
  • In the event of baby loss or illness, consider other ways to show your support other than social media

Tips for parents of the newborn

It’s a hugely exciting time, we know. But it’s best to be careful about who you tell important baby news 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. And if a friend or relative can’t be trusted not to blab, or they don’t understand how social media works, then delay telling them any news just to be sure.

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.

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