News has never traveled faster, and with just a few clicks, everyone and their uncle can know your business. This can be great. Sponsoring a GoFundMe for your kid's soccer team to go to Florida for a tournament? You can get the word out and the funds raised in an absurdly fast period of time. However, some times, like when it comes to baby announcements and overeager family stepping in to steal your thunder, you might wish it didn't exist. Knowing how to tell family not to post pictures of baby on Facebook before you decide you're ready can be a bit of a minefield of feelings.
If we lived in a perfect world, people would intuit that the parents should get to decide how and when the knowledge, name, and pictures of their children are blasted all over the internet, but we don't. It's a social media haze out there, where the first person to announce a milestone wins some weird Facebook clout trophy. It's more than a little frustrating for new parents who aren't even sure they want their children's pictures put up on social media. Thankfully, there are ways you can go about it that are just generic enough that they shouldn't ruffle any feathers.
Your best bet is to do a group email or chat with very basic, very broad rules that don't single anyone out. You can't just say, "Yes, I'm speaking to you, Uncle John. In between your rants about aliens and your newest lawn ornament purchases, please don't add 'Oh, and speaking of fertile soil, here's my newest grand-nephew!'" Even if you're tempted to go all out in your email, keep it generic. You might do a little post with a picture of your sonogram that reads, "We love that you are a part of our journey to become parents (or to welcome another child), but please refrain from sharing our news or pictures until we get the chance to do it ourselves. It's a big moment in our lives, and we would love the chance to tell everyone first."
If someone feels like you're "subtweeting" them, you probably are, but oh well. It went out to everyone, so they can't prove it. If they say something, they're only condemning their own past behavior. Win/win in my book.
When I began coming up with ideas for this post, I spoke to several of my friends to find out if this happened to any of them. I was shocked to hear that almost all of them can tell a story of someone spilling their big news before they get a chance to do it themselves. One friend had her engagement ring photo that she texted her mother put up on social media. This caused quite the kerfuffle, because her fiancé had not yet been able to tell his mother that she said yes. That's incredibly uncool. Where's the Emily Post of social media to guide us (and our parents, for sure, start with them) through the landscape that is Facebook and Instagram?
She would know how to tell your family not to put baby pictures up on social media without getting anyone upset. She might employ strategies like placing a note in the thank you card for the baby gift. After your baby shower, as you write out all the thank you notes for the generous gifts you received, include a little printed missive reading "Thank you so much for celebrating our baby. We can't wait to tell everyone when they arrive, so please refrain from posting on social media until we do." If you're not planning on posting pictures of your baby, include: "We love your excitement about our baby, but we've chosen to keep their pictures off of social media for their safety. Please do not post their name or picture on your feed."
It doesn't need to be an elaborate explanation, just simple, impossible to misread, and courteous. If they do it anyway, feel free to not let them in the loop next time. You can also request the post be removed by Facebook if you really want to.