I have a few personal rules about life:
- Always return your shopping cart.
- Don’t make microwave popcorn at the office.
- Never announce anyone else’s news on social media without their permission.
Today, I’d like to talk a bit about No. 3. I have seen many well-intended friends share someone else’s news before they had a chance to announce it themselves. This includes pregnancy, labor, birth, new jobs, engagements – you name it.
When I learned a close friend was pregnant because a relative posted it on Facebook, I felt guilty for knowing before she had a chance to tell me the way she wanted to, and I felt bad that the first conversation we had about her pregnancy was me letting her know about the post (she isn’t on Facebook and promptly asked for it to be taken down).
I was, perhaps, a little bit sensitive, given that this was just a few months after my oldest was born. I wrote before that she was born on my birthday. She arrived rather quickly, and spent her first 24 hours in the NICU.
The Facebook posts on my wall started early in the morning, wishing me a happy birthday. When our baby was born, my husband texted family and a few friends. Word began to spread. The birthday messages soon became messages of congratulations – things like, “Congratulations to both of you!” And then other people who visited my wall to tell me happy birthday would see the other posts, and it snowballed.
The messages were pouring in, and everyone was so nice and so well-meaning. It might seem silly to get upset about people who were so excited about our news that they couldn’t help but share it.
But consider – I didn’t know this conversation was happening until many hours later. I was in recovery, waiting for someone to come by and do lab work so I could go see my baby. Facebook knew about her before I had a chance to hold her. And when I was ready to make my own post late that night, the news had already been broken.
In the grand scheme of things, it’s not the worst thing that can happen – but I was disappointed. So the next time you get excited about someone’s news, take a moment and look at their page before you post anything. If they haven’t announced it yet, it’s probably a sign you should wait, too.