Baby Facebook-ing
August 9, 2017 7:48 AM   Subscribe

How do you handle announcing pregnancy and posting baby photos on social media? Especially managing expectations of family members who overshare online?

I feel I'm having a weird amount of anxiety over this. While I do have a social media presence, I've decided I don't want to announce my pregnancy online or post tons of baby photos. I'd rather announce with friends personally and I feel weird giving my baby an active online presence.

My partner is ok not announcing online but he's a photographer and he thinks our baby will be so super cute he'd definitely would be posting photos. I don't feel I can say no to this.

My in-laws over share online. Like, they post everything and they have tons of friends. I got super anxious this week because my mother in law posted tons of details about a current body ailment and got hundreds of comments and likes. She doesn't even know some of the people commenting very well. Whenever I see these posts, I'm just imagining some photo or details about my child on their pages and strangers commenting. They've also been asking when they can tell people I am pregnant.

I've talked to my partner about this and he just shrugs and says it will be fine, he will just tell them not to post and they will not. I don't think this is realistic given it's their first grandchild and...we can't tell them to never post anything forever. I'm not sure how to handle this.
posted by inevitability to Society & Culture (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Honestly I think your best bet is to try to manage your own reactions rather than trying to control your MILs'. I know that's very frustrating. But, I mean, if your circle of friends doesn't overlap with your MIL's, then what she posts won't affect your online presence: your friends won't see it. Even if she does tag you you can always untag yourself.

Also remember that this pregnancy is central and crucial to you, but your MIL's friends only care the tiniest bit. I doubt your partner can get her not to post; but he can insist the posts be locked down to her friends only, and you'll never even need to see it if you don't follow her.

Never send her any pics of the baby in the bath, though. Never anything you wouldn't want to see on a billboard.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:00 AM on August 9, 2017 [6 favorites]

You can set specific privacy settings for each post to exclude the over-sharers (and people they are friends with).
posted by ancient star at 8:05 AM on August 9, 2017

This gets discussed a lot on r/babybumps and r/beyondthebump. If you search for "social media" or "Facebook," you should get plenty of threads to read.
posted by whitewall at 8:05 AM on August 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

My friends who've recently had babies have been using either Cluster or Path to share the majority of baby pics online. They're both private photosharing/social network apps that let you send out a maximum amount to close friends and family, but make it much harder to re-share on facebook without actually downloading and resharing the pictures.
posted by mercredi at 8:48 AM on August 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

You can set specific privacy settings for each post to exclude the over-sharers (and people they are friends with).

This. On facebook you can make a whitelist group (on desktop click on "friend lists" in the left hand column) and make a strict group of people who see your content. When you share a post, just select that specific friend list under the "who should see this" drop down menu. Easy to switch back and forth or between friend groups.

If someone sees a post you share to that list pop up in their newsfeed and they decide to re-share it, it will ONLY show up to the people you've already whitelisted. The facebook privacy settings of today are actually really good about this and it's pretty easy to use and check on. It doesn't do a darn thing to protect against screen shots or people saving photos or sharing their own photos they take of your kid, but for content coming from you to get reshared within the fb platform, it locks it down well.

I've seen several people in my facebook circle make baby photo share groups over the last couple years. They'll post a new baby pic/announcement (sometimes with face hidden, just of happy parents and a little swaddle nugget) saying to please send them a PM if they want to be included on the baby photo list, they don't want to spam the populace with pics of their baby. (This is a great strategy since I personally don't enjoy babies but do still want to enjoy the people who have had them.) That keeps the flow of baby photos pretty contained within a self-selected group of known people.

I have also seen a broader-reaching post or two along the lines of "please DO NOT re-post pictures of [swaddle nugget] publicly or on your own social media, respect our family's privacy choices or you will be removed from our photo distribution list!" in cases where someone has stepped out of line.
posted by phunniemee at 9:25 AM on August 9, 2017 [5 favorites]

While you can't control your in-laws, you can have a serious talk with your husband. I know folks who 100% keep their kid photos off of FB, and some who share very little and never write their kids' names, because they don't want their kids "online" so early. You shouldn't have more anxiety because of something your husband does, especially regarding your kid.

If you're really nervous about your in-laws re-posting photos that you share via more private photo sharing sources, you can always exclude them from those circles but send them printed photos and photo books, because you can get both of those really inexpensively, and they'll probably be thrilled to have the hard-copies more than digital images (at least my parents are, but then my mother is a bit of a technophobe, and my dad isn't an over-sharer). This could also make your husband happy, letting him delve into photo selection and preparations before making the book layout. If he scoffs at the online book-making sites for their lack of fine-level detail, most allow "advanced" editing, or you can make prepare full pages and upload those, allowing for fine-tuning at home and utilization of the low cost of print-on-demand books (if you're not familiar with them, most sites offer steep discounts on their books from time to time, so you could get a 20 page 8" x 8" book for less than $10 shipped).
posted by filthy light thief at 9:40 AM on August 9, 2017

Another thing I love for sharing with grandparents is touchnote - it's an app that lets you send photo postcards (though the mail) directly from your phone. It's really easy to use, so it makes sending a physical postcard almost as easy as posting or texting a picture, so you can do it it the moment.
posted by mercredi at 9:56 AM on August 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Don't do it. This is my new thinking about photos of your kids. They can't consent, so until they can, don't use open social media to chronicle your children's lives. At all.
posted by Oyéah at 10:12 AM on August 9, 2017 [4 favorites]

My children were born before Facebook was a thing but still in the digital age. Over time I got involved in a contentious public issue where the people on the "other side" would not hesitate to latch on to any personal information they could find and use it to threaten or ridicule those they opposed. I was pretty glad I hadn't shared identifying info about my kids, or their pictures, online. (Still don't, many years later.) I say this only to encourage you to stand strong and insist that your husband take steps to limit who can view these beautiful baby photos. Also agreeing with the use of Facebook privacy controls with the grandparents, and hoping they continue to work the same way as long as those photos may float around online...
posted by lakeroon at 12:51 PM on August 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Can you suggest a maximum acceptable level? Eg, I know you will want to post some photos, let's keep it to photos from our annual family photos and (insert holiday) and make sure to request before posting anything else.

Also, I periodically move photos over a year old to a private folder in FB/etc to help manage what's visible.
posted by typecloud at 12:55 PM on August 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

> My partner is ok not announcing online but he's a photographer and he thinks our baby will be so super cute he'd definitely would be posting photos. I don't feel I can say no to this.

You sure can. A good partner should respect your boundaries on this.
posted by pyro979 at 6:47 PM on August 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

+1 more on talking to your partner rather than navigating social media anxiety with in-laws or anyone else. When my brother posts photos of my anorexic years or my chubby years to his entire network as part of those irritating "remember when" Facebook phenomena that blow through every few months, I feel violated.
posted by xyzzy at 7:43 PM on August 9, 2017

My kid was born in the early years of Facebook, before we all realized all of the privacy implications. Now Facebook recognizes his face. That is creepy.

I think it is totally okay to have a policy that Baby won't have their photos on Facebook. In-laws will have to respect this or they won't get access to photos. Explain to them that you're concerned about privacy on social media, your child being marketed to, and the information being collected about them. Tell the in-laws that Kid at age 14 (or whatever) can make decisions for themselves. But for now, nope.

This doesn't mean that you can't take photos and share them via text or whatever. Be selective.
posted by k8t at 9:43 PM on August 9, 2017

Thanks all for the alternatives to sharing photos. My partner and I are on a better page, and he's promised to have ongoing conversations with his parents on this.
posted by inevitability at 10:36 AM on August 25, 2017

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