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STFU Parents: 2015 Trend Forecast For Parents On Facebook

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A couple of weeks ago, I posted several “overshare tips” for parents in honor of the New Year. Those tips mostly served as reminders, because they were based on previous columns about certain habits that parents engage in online.  But for today’s column, I wanted to focus on the habits I’m predicting for 2015 that have only just begun to infiltrate our online world. Social media trends can last long enough to become mainstream (I’m thinking of the people who create Facebook account for their fetus — that “trend” hasn’t slowed down at all), but even still, new ways of using sites like Facebook crop up every day. Sometimes they lead to a rash of interminable fads, like pregnancy announcements involving various pairs of shoes, chalkboards, or jars of Prego spaghetti sauce, until the trend is so overused that it finally jumps the shark.

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Other times, trends move in strange extremes, moving from one acceptable course of action (posting everything about one’s children online) to another, opposite acceptable course of action (posting nothing about one’s children online). Social mores are starting to determine these types of behaviors, whereas before, it seemed more like individuals just made up the rules as they went along. Back in 2009, when I started STFU, Parents, there were no articles or blog posts about how parents use social media, what kind of impact these attitudes and user mechanisms had on their kids (or their friends), or what we could learn from social media etiquette, including the benefits of curbing certain types of posting behavior. But in 2015, these articles and blogger insights are rampant.

Nearly every day, someone sends me a new study or think piece written on these subjects, in which someone declares that kids have privacy rights, too, or that parents who post multiple times a day about their baby’s teething condition are approximately 59% more likely to be ignored by their bored friends on Instagram. And for the most part, I think these articles are a good thing! We have more information to discuss, more data to mine, and more experiential evidence to prove or disprove our claims. (Not that I’ve ever needed data to justify my stance that no one wants to see your kid’s poop in the bath.)

But at the same time, I wonder how these articles and essays and blog posts picked up by pervasive media outlets can influence how parents use social media. Are parents more likely to become sheep, following the herd mentality of whatever Slate or Huffington Post deems acceptable for parents to post online? Or perhaps parents will be more inclined to think for themselves, rejecting these mainstream notions as they overload our news streams? Today’s forecast showcases a little bit of both. Let’s check ’em out.

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