Every year on STFU, Parents, I put up an “End-Of-Year Listicle” chronicling the Top 20 posts of the year along with a few notes about the “hot trends.” Usually there are a few lessons to be learned, such as, “If you hire a birth photographer, remember to edit out the pictures of your lady business before you put them on Facebook.” Or, “Just because you ate your placenta doesn’t mean the whole world wants to know how it was prepared.” Suffice it to say, it’s a time for deep reflection as well as an opportunity to take stock on how social media was used by parents throughout the year. Last year, for instance, was The Year of The MommyJacker on Facebook. This year, I’d venture to say it was The Year of The Fetus.
And since I sort of feel like the first seven months of this column have been about “lessons” and trends (some sillier, grosser or more serious than others), I thought I’d make my last column of the year about the “social media goals” all parents should strive toward in 2012. Let us not forget what we have learned from columns past. With that in mind, here are my Top 5 Overshare Tips for the coming year.
1. If You’re Going to MommyJack, Don’t Let it Be a DeathJack
We learned all about the various types of mommyjackers in not one but two columns this year, which goes to show how common the practice really is. I think it’s safe to say that the worst way to mommyjack someone is to “deathjack” them (for lack of a better term), and this simple example shows why. Deathjacking is self-absorbed and hurtful and should never happen. If you have to mommyjack someone in 2012, don’t let it be like this.
2. Try Not to Documom
I briefly discussed the recently-coined STFU, Parents term “documom” in this column about parents who obsessively document their children’s teeth. I think “documoming” is going to be big in 2012, because more and more parents are using Facebook as a digital scrapbook, and my tip is to documom the right way. It’s okay to document your child’s life for the sake of the grandparents (or whatever your excuse is), but try to be conservative. As you can see from Christine’s album above, her baby hasn’t changed too much in the first six days of life (to the average viewer), and these pictures are already getting a little old to look at. Consider a monthly photo of your child’s growth rather than a daily one. Your friends will thank you.
3. Put the Potty Pictures in a Baby Book, Not Facebook
I dedicated a whole column to this phenomenon back in September, and I bring it up again now because I think this is a tough subject for parents to know how to write about on Facebook. Of all the things that people want to say about their child that could be considered overshare, announcing the first poop in the potty seems to be the most difficult to avoid. Parents are so damn proud, and their kids are so damn proud, and that first poop in the potty may as well be made of gold. I think most people – parents and non-parents alike – understand the importance of this achievement.
That being said, in 2012 if your kid makes the grade on the toilet, please don’t post a picture of it. Or write a description of what it looked like or what it smelled like. You might be proud, but some of us read Facebook while we’re eating. Also, some of us just don’t want to know that much detail about your child’s bowel movements. A simple, “My baby is on her way to being potty trained!” will do. We all sense how proud you are, I promise.
4. Keep Your Son’s Junk Off the Internet
This is another subject I dedicated a whole column to because I read wayyyy too much about little boys’ penises this year. Moms and dads, no matter what your baby boy’s penis is “up to” (::shudder::), it is inappropriate to share such details on Facebook. Talk about it on a forum, or with your friends at the park, or with your doctor. And if the opening on your son’s penis is too narrow, do you really think he’d want you sharing that information on Facebook? I don’t have a penis, but something inside of me is shouting “NO!”
5. Always Maintain a Sense of Humor
It’s no secret that the Mom’s Gold Star is one of my favorite categories on the blog. I love it when parents have a sense of humor about parenting, and I especially love it when they make the jokes that parents “aren’t supposed to make.” Every parent knows that even on your worst days it’s important to smile and laugh, so in 2012, instead of attacking other parents or teachers or that kid who gave your kid the flu, try to keep your updates light and funny. You can still complain about having a bad day, but crafting a perfectly humorous status update will earn you tons of points in your friends’ books. Their Facebook books, that is.
Happy New Year, everyone!