Happy New Year! It is 2014, the year that, I believe, parent overshare is going to get even weirder than it has in the past. Why do I think that? Well, every year for the past few years, the majority of data studies have shown that moms are increasingly on the move (on Facebook) and control the majority of their household purchases (after posting 100 times a day on Facebook), and that tells me parent overshare isn’t going anywhere in 2014. If anything, it’s ramping up! What delights lay ahead for us this year? What horrible, ridiculous, possibly medically irresponsible status updates and trends will some parents share with the world? On this cold, blustery day in early January, it’s a little too soon to tell. As a preemptive reminder, though, I’ve put together a list of tips for parents to follow in order to avoid any major pitfalls.
This list could be at least 20 tips long, but for the sake of brevity, I’ve whittled it down to the Top 6. After going through last year’s trends and columns, I took stock in my submissions inventory of “what’s hot” and “what’s not” in the world of overshare to reach my final conclusions. As noted in previous“Tips” columns, we can’t know where we’re going until we take a look at where we’ve been. In 2014, I wish everyone health, happiness, and the ability to know when STFU on social media. Here are my top tips for the New Year:
1. Don’t Fundraise / Crowdsource For Money (Unless It’s An Emergency)
We first talked about “parental fundraising” in this space in April, and since then, the fad has climbed to reach new heights of awkwardness. What began as a trend for parents to raise money for adoption or in vitro fertilization or — FAR more understandably — medical bills incurred due to unforeseen circumstances has now turned into a free-for-all on sites like Go Fund Me or IndieGoGo. Now, people are crowdsourcing funds for everything from college tuition (planning ahead!) to paying for a home birth (they can be expensive!). In this instance, the submitter was especially irked because she and the parents-to-be live in Australia, where healthcare is free. The submitter wrote, “That’s right, she could walk into a hospital and give birth for FREE, but would prefer other people PAY for her ‘home birth’! If they can’t afford to have the f***ing baby, how the hell do they expect to raise it?” Good point, submitter! We will ponder this further in 2014. In the meantime, if you are a parent who’s inclined to put up a fundraising site for things like this, try to curb how frequently you share the page with your friends online. If they haven’t donated yet, they’re probably not going to. Maybe they have their own lives and families to pay for? Just a thought!
2. My Mama Always Told Me Not To Air The Family Drama
This is a subject we’ll definitely tackle in 2014, because it’s been a brewin’ in my inbox for months. We’ve already seen the ways that mama drama can play out (especially when baby names are involved), and we’ve seen parents verbally rip each other apart Maury-style, but I’ve yet to dedicate a column to the often anger-filled and uncomfortable airing of family drama on Facebook. I’ll be sure to remedy that this year. People like Amanda deserve to be heard.
3. Stop Posting About Your Birth Keepsakes
Okay, parents, WE GET IT. If you could install a tasteful, yet sizable HD screen in the foyer of your home that played video loops of your children being born, you would. You already make placenta prints. You frame umbilical cords and fashion them into hearts in shadow boxes. You blow up images of your babies in utero and hang them over your mantles. WE GET IT. But 2014 is the year to consider reining it all in.
4. Posting Play-By-Play TMI Updates Is So Last Year
“TMI” is a term that’s been so overused in recent years, even my grandmother knows what it means. That means enough people have shared “too much information” to the point that it’s covered on the local news. This year, try to really only Facebook update when necessary. If you’re updating your friends on the status of the barf-filled crevices of your comforter, that tells me that A) you’ve already told everyone how the comforter got covered in barf to begin with, and B) you’ve already told everyone that you dropped off the comforter at the laundromat. A third update is truly not necessary. Amy, you absolutely MUST get a new hobby in 2014.
5. Don’t Overshare About Older Kids Or Teens
The latest report that’s being spread around the internet like wildfire is the one saying that teens are fleeing Facebook in an attempt to escape the madness that is Their Parents. My favorite quote says, “Where once parents worried about their children joining Facebook, the children now say it is their family that insists they stay there to post about their lives.” Yikes. It doesn’t sound like that plan is going very well, and it’s probably because of updates like Laura’s. Sure, it’s fun to post about your children in jest whether they’re babies, toddlers, kids, or adolescents, but remember: the older they get, the more they’re going to resent that shit. I’ll be shocked if Laura’s kid appreciates that future tag, even if Laura thinks it’s hysterical. Also, who among Laura’s friends gives a flying fuck about her kid’s armpit hair??
6. As Always, Remember To Have A Sense Of Humor
Last but NEVER least, remember that even if you’ve been an oversharing parent in the past, 2014 is the year you can redeem yourself with humor! Funny updates like Justin’s never go out of style, and your friends will be impressed with your restraint and good attitude. In a sea of posts about poop in the potty and being pissed off at the UPS man for ruining nap time, an update like Justin’s appears even more remarkable. Take note, parents. This could be you.