Thanks to the endless reader submissions that populate her blog STFU, Parents, Blair Koenig is an expert on how parents can alienate their Facebook and Twitter friends with endless posting about their kids. Even better, these oblivious moms and dads have inspired a whole new lingo. Koenig, whose book STFU, Parents came out in April, shares essential tips for parents when it comes to social media etiquette.
A little over four years ago, I created the blog STFU, Parents to start a conversation—albeit a humorous one—about the ways parents use social media. Sure, we’ve all got those annoying people in our newsfeeds who constantly update about what they ate or how many miles they ran, but thankfully, none of those updates (that I’m aware of) include pictures of poop. On STFU, Parents, I’ve written about dozens of overshare faux pas, beginning with the conception of a baby and ending with a mom posting about her daughter’s first period. Everything in between has come with gross pictures, sanctimonious rants, “humblebrags” about kids’ achievements, and even something that inspired the word “mommyjacking.”
After dedicating several years to bringing parental overshare to the masses on the blog, I’ve now released the slightly less disgusting STFU, Parents book. The book is a field guide to oversharing, with each chapter highlighting a different category, and it’s for both parents and non-parents to enjoy. After all, STFU, Parents appeals to anyone who doesn’t want to see afterbirth when logging into Facebook. There’s a difference between sharing and oversharing, but the distinction can be tough for some parents to ascertain. With that in mind, here are five of the biggest temptations that parents should resist on social media, plus a bonus tip about what to share!
1. Don’t be a mommyjacker.
Mommyjacking is when a parent hijacks a friend’s unrelated status update to share something about her kids. It’s one of the most common things that parents do online that bugs their friends, and for good reason. If I say that I’m having a bad day, it’s not the best time to mention your child’s birthday.
2. Don’t be a sanctimommy.
We’ve all crossed paths with a sanctimommy. She’s the mom who thinks her parenting methods are the absolute best, and she gets particularly enraged when people don’t wave back at her baby in the grocery store. She might snap at you in a bar if you use a word she doesn’t want her accompanying toddler to hear, and then she’ll post a rant about it on Facebook. Do not be that person. (And yes, there are sanctidaddies!)
This should go without saying, but if it came out of your baby’s body, it shouldn’t be discussed on Facebook. Parents are up to their elbows in poop, but there are forums, blogging communities, and actual communities in which parents can freely talk about the texture, smell, and color of poop. Do your friends a favor and keep it off Facebook.
4. Don’t share details about your child’s potty achievements (or anything related to poop).
When a toddler uses the toilet for the first time, it’s reason for celebration—in private, at home, without Facebook or the use of digital cameras. You may be tempted to post potty training updates or take a picture (or 30) of your child’s first potty success, but that’s more than the average Facebook friend cares to know or see. Way more. Trust me on this.
5. Don’t be a documom.
Documoms can’t help but chronicle every detail of their child’s life, from close-ups of teething gums to pictures of rashes and knee scrapes. When posting on social media, try to edit yourself and remember that no one wants to examine your child’s body but you. If you can’t identify a particular problem, call the doctor or email a friend. And try to limit the number of cute kid pictures you post to a reasonable number. Forcing your child to pose for a photo every single day of the school year isn’t fun for her or your Facebook friends.
So what can parents post about? Lots of stuff! Cute pictures are welcome, as are updates about milestones and accomplishments. But the best types of updates are written with a sharp sense of humor. If parents truly consider what their Facebook friends want to read and attempt to entertain them with clever updates, the results will be more fun for everyone.