Every year on September 11th, Facebook users unite to “Never Forget” and pay tribute to those who lost their lives in 2001. It’s often a nice way for a network of people to feel connected and share memories, be they somber, reflective, or even uplifting. However, as the years pass by, many other things have happened (and will continue to happen) that are of significant importance, as well. Births, deaths, anniversaries, new milestones and occasions to remember — these are all worth mentioning on Facebook, too, maybe, or aren’t they? In my opinion, it’s all about how a person relays the information. I’ve seen a lot of 9/11 birthdayjackings over the years, and those almost never feel appropriate to me. Granted, my own mom’s birthday is today, so I understand the impulse to express joy and excitement, especially over a small child’s special day. But I’m still not convinced that most people are doing it right.
There’s no rulebook for how to act on social media on a holiday, even if that holiday is commemorating a tragic day in the not-too-distance past. I’m not going to say that a person shouldn’t reflect on the day for reasons other than the Towers. If you had a baby that day, got married, or even started a new job, by all means, share away! But maybe keep the thousands of lives that were lost out of your status update. Maybe don’t hijack a friend’s holiday tribute to write a unique tribute of your own. There are classy ways of posting about all of these things that don’t involve mentioning the reason this day is observed. We already know. And yet, despite that fact, some people choose to ignore that little voice saying, “Not now,” or, “Write it in a separate update.” It could be because they think it’s important to acknowledge the day so no one on Facebook will think they’ve somehow forgotten 9/11. Or it could be because they want their update to be seen, and they know if they mention 9/11 it will have a higher chance of showing up in users’ feeds. (Ahh, Facebook algorithms!) Or, it could just be that they’re self-obsessed mommyjackers. Take this example from two years ago that I never posted:
See what I mean? In the words of Nat King Cole, that ain’t right.
Here are some other examples of ways parents use social media on September 11th to symbolically honor the day, along with a few other things:
1. To Show Off Their Cute Baby
Tyler is a baby whose sole job in life right now is to be cute. Jenny is a mom who enjoys dressing up her baby on holidays. These two things work well together on MOST holidays, but I think this time she could’ve just used the Stars and Stripes ensemble for the Fourth of July. Yes, in a sense September 11th is a patriotic holiday, but really, Jenny’s just looking for an excuse to post pictures of her cute baby all dressed up. If anything, one image would’ve done the trick.