Jane Yee: Oversharing on Facebook
I didn't think I'd be one of those people who posts loads of photos of their baby on Facebook, but it turns out I am one of those people.
I've calmed down a bit now - these days I mostly subject strangers to my Kodak Moments via Twitter and Instagram - but for the first few months of Victor's life my friends and acquaintances on Facebook were bombarded with shots of my son.
It can be annoying, I get it. Before I got sucked into the black hole of babies I too used to sometimes roll my eyes ever-so-slightly if a glut of baby photos popped up in my newsfeed. Trying beetroot for the first time! Fun day at the zoo! All snuggled up and off for a walk! Thanks for the new outfit grandma! And so on.
It's not that I didn't appreciate the cuteness of it all; I've always been a fan of babies, but that's just not where I was at in life. I cared about music, work, and pretty much only things that directly affected me because I was the only person I had to worry about.
That's the thing about Facebook, isn't it? You share and are interested in things that are relevant to your world. So when I had a baby and that little creature started sucking up 99.9 per cent of my time, I realised that I had little else to talk about.
Besides, I love that kid! Every time I snap a mega cute photo of him I feel like I simply have to share it, because surely it will make the online world a better place? I've also found myself really enjoying seeing photos of my friends' babies. I even like seeing photos of strangers' babies. Finally I understand why people post pics of their children with such reckless abandon - and now I'm one of them. I guess I'm proud of my son, and I'm pretty stoked that I had a hand in bringing such an excellent creature into the world - I kinda just want to show him off.
At first I felt a bit guilty about posting all these photos on Facebook - along with the status updates about his milestones and the occasional gush about how much I love him. I worried that I would be boring my childless friends who were out doing exciting things; achieving brilliantly at work, going to fun parties, attending concerts. They expressed intelligent political views, shared links of cultural significance, travelled to exotic locations. Meanwhile I was posting photo after photo of my son on his sheepskin rug.
I was faced with a conundrum - I enjoyed sharing photos of my son but I didn't want to annoy my friends. Then it occurred to me... I can do what I like on Facebook, and if my friends aren't into it they can hide me from their newsfeed or unfriend me. It's that simple, and I wouldn't blame them. If someone on my friends list was annoying me with their online activity I'd do the same thing. I'm not on Facebook to present an inaccurate picture of my life, I'm there to connect with people. My son is my world, and my job, so if I'm updating my friends with what I'm up to it would be weird not to include him. Heck, he's what I'm up to twenty-four seven.
As it happens the over-enthusiastic photo sharing has naturally slowed down. It helps that I belong to a private Facebook group of friends who are also new first time mums, so I have a captive audience for when I feel the need to share a story about Victor's obsession with food or a shot of him sucking on his toes. Still, if I do want to post a photo of my son to my regular Facebook page, I don't feel bad about it anymore. He's my son, and by far the best thing that's ever happened to me. He lights up my world every day and it's hard not to share that kind of joy.
As far as other social media is concerned - all bets are off. If people choose to follow me, then they're going to get updates about naps, tripping over toys, meltdowns at department stores... that's just my reality these days.
How do you feel about sharing photos of kids (yours or otherwise) on Facebook? Also, if you have a Twitter and/or instagram account, feel free to share your username so I can stalk you and gush over your cute photos.