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Discuss: Facebook Toilet Talk

Like many women nearing 30, most of my friends are married with children.  Fawning over their little ones on Facebook is one of my favorite past times.  I love watching these little people grow from babies to toddlers to little kids on their way to school.  But some of the comments that these new parents share on Facebook strike me as the kind of thing that shouldn’t be expressed in a public forum.

Thoughts on the size of woman’s breasts while she’s nursing and how her husband loves them is probably something best kept to yourself.  Naked photos of your children (even innocent baby pics) probably shouldn’t be posted on the Internet for safety reasons.  And, frankly, your Facebook friends don’t really want to hear about your child’s bowel movements, accidents, and incidents during potty training.

And they definitely don’t want to see photos.  Yes, photos. 

Facebook is a place to share thoughts about your life and stay connected with your friends.  But there is an expected level of decorum, or at least there should be.  Especially if you liberally friend hundreds of people from work, school, your church, etc. 

Facebook over-sharing isn’t limited to parents.  I’ve read more than a few status updates about my friend’s sex lives, drunken romps and in-law issues that I thought weren’t appropriate for public consumption.  But as more of my friends become parents, the over-shares about diaper contents, post-baby sex, etc. become more rampant.

I understand that Moms and Dads need a good support system, a friend group with whom they can commiserate and share solutions with, but does that group need to include everyone of your college dorm mates?  The pastor at your church?  Your co-workers?  The guy you met at the bar, that one time after the game, who dated your friend for a couple of weeks?

What do you think: Am I over-thinking this?  Are the potty updates and the personal thoughts okay?  Or do you find these status updates cringe-worthy as well?  And do you think it’s appropriate to say something (privately and tactfully, of course) to the people who are over-sharing?

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    27 comments

  1. P says:

    I probably wouldn't say anything to them, but if they were a close friend, I might “tease” them about it – a well placed “I did NOT need to see that!” might go a long way!

    July 1, 2011/Reply
  2. Rach says:

    It's absolutely inappropriate! I've had friends who were completely offended when I told them that Facebook was the wrong venue for these types of posts. They responded by saying that once I have kids, I'll do it too. Nope, don't think so!

    July 1, 2011/Reply
  3. amy b.s. says:

    you're not overthinking it. i am shocked at some of the things people think are appropriate for facebook.

    July 1, 2011/Reply
  4. Some Hill Staffer says:

    This question is a metaphor for Facebook itself.

    July 1, 2011/Reply
  5. Katherine says:

    I am with you 100%! I don't think I would say anything, though. If someone is so lost in mommy/daddy-land that they'd post about bowel movements in the first place, I kind of doubt they'd be receptive to negative feedback, however nicely delivered.

    July 1, 2011/Reply
  6. cia says:

    Totally agree with you.

    Except on this part: “Like many women nearing 30, most of my friends are married with children. “

    Although that's true for a good portion of my Facebook friends, none of my ACTUAL real-life friends are married, much less have kids, and I'm 31. Spinsterdom FTW!

    July 1, 2011/Reply
  7. Mia says:

    I think the rule of thumb really is “would I want ANYONE to see what I'm about to write” and in the case of children “Would my [eventual] 16 year old want everyone to be reading this about them?” or, better yet “would I have wanted my parents to write this about me?”

    I'm with you…if I see things that make me go “oh god, eeww” more than once or twice, I usually hide them on my feed.

    July 1, 2011/Reply
  8. Belle says:

    CIA

    FTW, Miss Havisham! j/k

    I agree most of my DC pals are unmarried, but the same is not true for my friends from out West. They're all married.

    July 1, 2011/Reply
  9. VA says:

    You're definitely not overthinking it – people who post private things on Facebook (about baby bowel movements or anything else that not everyone else in the world needs to know) should think MORE about it!

    In the meantime, you can get a kick out of this snarky blog: https://www.stfuparentsblog.com/

    July 1, 2011/Reply
  10. K says:

    I'm in complete agreement with Mia. Thinking of how embarrassed their grown kids will be when they read about their bowel movements as a 2-year old makes me cringe. Also how will parents explain posts where they complain about stressed out and tired their kids are making them? Mommy/Daddy affection issues waiting to happen…

    July 1, 2011/Reply
  11. Kristen says:

    If they are a friend, I second the suggestion that you tease them about it being TMI, or if they are only an acquaintance and this is a persistent problem, see if you can remove them from your feed. If they are family, I think you have to live with it, since the dynamics of families can be different and you don't want to spark a family feud. It might be annoying or gross, but I'd rather read that than some of the hair-brained political commentary my friends spout off! Either way, you can't control their behavior and if their kids live to hate them, so be it.

    July 1, 2011/Reply
  12. Katie says:

    Pretty much the rule of thumb for me is: Once a 'facebook friend' has a baby, immediately block their wall posts from your news feed. =)

    July 1, 2011/Reply
  13. w says:

    Thank you.

    July 1, 2011/Reply
  14. Ms. B says:

    Child birth photos posted on Facebook!!!!! Gross and beyond tacky.

    July 1, 2011/Reply
  15. Jessica says:

    I definitely agree with you. The over-shares are extremely cringe-worthy. My Aunt, actually, is a huge over-sharer. It got really bad when she started to broadcast relatives' medical issues (even relatives that chose not to be on facebook for privacy reasons!). And no one in my family had any problem talking to her about what we deemed to be inappropriate use of facebook. She's been a bit better and has left the extended family alone. ­čÖé

    July 1, 2011/Reply
  16. B says:

    Can we also discuss twitter? A new mother who I know through business tweeted using the hashtag #bfing yesterday. Confused, I read on, thinking she was barfing. Nope, breast feeding. She was soliciting advice about sores.

    I wish there was someone I could call to install a filter between brains and their keyboards.

    July 1, 2011/Reply
  17. KLo says:

    Hear hear Belle! I love the cute pictures of the messy kid in the Garanimals eating his/her first frozen yogurt, or building a sandcastle (if posted somewhat infrequently), but pictures of bodily functions? No thank you.

    July 1, 2011/Reply
  18. kbk says:

    Agree completely! Also not ok: a picture of the used pregnancy test with the plus sign! Ewww!!!

    July 1, 2011/Reply
  19. lindsay says:

    Birth pictures, placenta pictures, umbilical cord pictures – all inappropriate for facebook. And I've seen them, so someone needs a better filter. And a huge yes to STFUparentsblog.com!

    I consider anything I put online (with my identity attached) as potential fodder for a future employer. If I wouldn't want my boss to see it, doesn't go online. Doesn't mean I don't put anything online, just that it's all appropriate for public eyes and I think represents me in a positive to neutral light. That also doesn't mean I can't have a personality online, just that I have overshare boundaries. And some people seriously need to learn their own overshare boundaries.

    July 1, 2011/Reply
  20. Truc says:

    I second VA's recommendation of STFU, Parents. And should something truly beyond the pale come up in your facebook feed and put you off your morning coffee, it is glorious schadenfreude to submit material. Or so I hear.

    July 1, 2011/Reply
  21. Jennifer says:

    My least favorite are the child birth photos. No, I really don't want to see your legs spread apart and a baby still attached to the umbilical cord. Or you breast feeding.

    July 1, 2011/Reply
  22. gingerr says:

    At least birth pictures only happen once.

    I have a friend who was someone I used to work with. She quit to stay home with her baby.
    I think the woman needs to go back to work. It's BMs and pee all the time.

    I pity the woman's husband. I'll bet going to work is the happest part of his life, everybody is potty trained there.

    At least try to show the rest of the world that you have a life that a reasonable adult would like to live!

    July 1, 2011/Reply
  23. Jessica says:

    You are so right! So I Lindsay — I have seen people post ultrasound pictures on Facebook. NOT ok. Even worse are people who “like” those comments and pictures — don't encourage the oversharing!!

    as for Twitter, that's even worse because on Facebook at least the idea is only your friends see your updates (aside from the fact that many people still don't know how to use Facebook privacy settings, which brings us back to the disturbing habit of posting naked baby / child pictures). There is an app/ website called muuter.com that helps filter tweets.

    On another note: How scarred will all these children be when they grow up to be teenagers and are forever haunted by the potty training pictures mommy posted years ago?

    July 2, 2011/Reply
  24. Michelle says:

    I suppose whether or not what someone says is appropriate depends entirely on the scope of their facebook friend list. I have purposely limited my facebook page to actual friends and immediate family. (My friend list is less than 30 people.) I am fairly confident that these people are truly interested in whatever things that are happening and are a big deal to me. So yeah, when I was pregnant, I shared ultrasound pictures. When my son first peed on the toilet, I was ecstatic and shared that too. That's not to say that as a parent, I only share things about my kid, because I have been just as quick to share when I run a kick-ass race or have got promoted at work. I think it's fair to expect that you can share whatever is a big deal to you in the moment with your true friends.

    July 3, 2011/Reply
  25. WashingTina says:

    I'm continually grossed out and appalled by the lack of filter that people apparently have on Facebook. I've started hiding some of the worst offenders, because let's face it, if you're that uncouth, I really don't want to be “friends” with you anyway.

    Loved this post!

    July 5, 2011/Reply
  26. DHL says:

    I've never been able to understand the immediate post-birth photos. I would kill anyone who tried to take a picture of me when I was sweaty and unshowered with messy hair, glasses, and no make-up sitting in bed wearing a big unflattering hospital gown after being awake for the prior 36 hours regardless of the situation. As for babies, the worst I have seen was a picture of the baby on the scale having its temperature taken rectally. She'll love that one in 15 years.

    July 5, 2011/Reply
  27. Jaime says:

    Come on Belle! Don't pick on parents, its hard enough. Yes, boob pics are gross, but parents haven't cornered the market on bad taste…it's all over FB.

    July 6, 2011/Reply