It's been six long months since we last investigated the weird, wild world of mommyjacking, but that doesn't mean mommyjackers aren't still roaming social media and hijacking their friends' status updates to talk about their kids. In fact, some mommyjackers don't even look for logical opportunities to break their 30-second silence on parenthood; they just pounce on their friends' updates and dismiss context altogether. I first chronicled this phenomenon in a column a few years ago titled 'Mommyjackers Who Speak In Non-Sequiturs On Social Media,' and today I want to revisit this subject, if only because I'm endlessly fascinated by people who blurt out whatever comes to mind when they're scrolling through their newsfeeds.
It's almost like a word association game. A mommyjacker sees a word and immediately associates it with something irrelevant to the post, but instead of reflecting on it and moving on, she posts a comment. Or she sees someone in her feed who she hasn't talked to in a while and suddenly feels a frenetic urge to provide a parenting update, regardless of whether or not it even makes sense. The old expression that "there's a time and a place for everything" rings true here, to the point that I almost pity parents who fall into the embarrassing trappings of non-sequitur-jacking. Take this mom who needs to sleep, for example. She probably shouldn't leave comments on Facebook when she's this tired.
Occasionally, though, a non-sequiturjacker will acknowledge whatever the original poster was talking about to gain some clarity herself. People who might be accused of "vaguebooking" are the most likely to experience this type of response, because whatever they posted about was already slightly confusing. Since I'm anti-vaguebooking myself, I can appreciate a person who challenges a friend by asking what the hell she's talking about. But there's a difference between asking a friend to further explain a vague status update because you're genuinely curious, versus asking for further explanation because you're champing at the bit to share something random about your baby.
Slipping parenting information into an otherwise non-parenting focused discussion is essentially what non-sequitur-jacking is all about. It's the equivalent of talking to a really, really bad listener, or a hard-of-hearing geriatric person who just nods and smiles until finally asking what time lunch is being served. Non-sequiturjackers don't mean any harm, but they aren't scoring too many Likes with their comments, either. Let's check out some examples to help us all remember to stay on-topic, no matter how badly we want to announce an unrelated fun fact (or five). That's the thing about fun facts -- they're only "fun" if they actually add something to the conversation. Knowing when to drop them can, apparently, be a difficult feat for the Facebook-challenged and baby-obsessed among us.
1. My Baby > Your Insulin
Hey, who gives a shit about your "life-saving" medicine?! This guy and his wife Valerie created a cutie patootie 22 months ago and well, you could say she's "saved their lives" in more ways than one! Have you ever made a toddler laugh? Now THAT will give a person life. Forget about a peptide hormone used by millions of people who would potentially die without it. Forget about the fact that the creator of insulin's crystal structure won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1964. TODAY is the day little Decker was conceived! Talk about a "divine invention"! Haha!
2. Vaguebooking + Non-sequiturjacking: A Love Story
"Sux that u have a big lab exam and ur nervous or or whatever. Did u know that my son will be 6 months tomorrow? Did u know he's the sweetest chunky monkey anyone's ever met? Did u know he will be eating solid foods soon? Have u heard of half-birthdays? Tomorrow is my son's half-birthday because he will be 6 months old. Now u know. Hope ur test doesn't suck. Good talk."
3. Calling People Out When They Least Expect It
Gee, Amber, I wonder why Natasha missed your baby shower. Could it be because she hasn't been feeling like herself lately? Could it be that you have a lot of trouble with reading comprehension? Could it be that you're so self-involved, just seeing Natasha's name pop up in your feed caused you to call her out without even considering WHY she missed your stupid baby shower? Just wondering.
4. Word Association Woes
Ummmmmmm. My face just morphed into a spectrum of emojis. The "furrowed brow" emoji. The "oh, that's sad" emoji. The "eye roll" emoji. The "neutral face" emoji. Now I'm the emoji that just has eyes. What is a person supposed to say to "HannahandKyle" (ugh) after "they" leave a comment about naming their 2-month old miscarried fetus "Joy"? Yes, suffering a miscarriage is a "testing of faith that produces perseverance," and no, I don't think people who have had miscarriages should suffer in silence, but that doesn't mean it's okay to drop this piece of information into the comments like it's common knowledge. I mean, the fetus was less than one inch long and weighed less than 1/8 of an ounce. Not that it didn't deserve a name, but technically it didn't yet have a sex or an identity. Mourning what could have been makes sense, but I'm not so sure leaving this comment does.
R. really takes this conversation to a terrible, disgusting place and I feel badly that M. read it with a fully-chugged milkshake sitting in her stomach. Parenting pro-tip: Just because something makes you think of that time a few hours ago when your kid crapped on the bedroom floor doesn't mean you should TELL people about it out loud. Keep your son's "chocolate-colored" shit to yourself. Especially if no one is talking about shit in the first place. Because really -- why would they be?