Are New Parents The Most Annoying People On Facebook?
Parents are not the worst offenders on Facebook.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that new parents are the most annoying people on Facebook. There are sites like STFU Parents that document their numerous social media failures and overshares. There are products like Unbaby.me, which blocks images of babies from your internet. And even the bloggers here have dedicated time to guiding new parents through the fraught world of posting about babies on Facebook. But a new study, suggests that new parents are not social media’s worst offenders.
Andrea Appleton explains in a recent article on Slate.com:
“The research, published this month in the Proceedings of CSCW, is based on surveys from 412 new mothers as well as the content of many of their Facebook timelines. The paper concludes that mothers of young children post to Facebook far less often than they did before their child’s birth, and much of what they do post doesn’t refer to the child. Plus, the proportion of posts mentioning the baby drops off sharply after the first month, continuing to fall as the kid ages.”
Good news, right? Time to post more about your baby! Wrong. Appleton also criticizes the study by noting that it only tracked mentions of baby names. She points out that many moms post about their children without posting their names. Also, dads were underrepresented in the study and white middle-class women were over represented.
While the study does provide some room for disagreement, it highlights what a fraught and emotional subject babies are. I have a friend, bless him, who posts a lot of pictures of his food on all social media platforms. He might get annoying from time to time, but his posts have yet to draw my ire the way another friend does when she begs for people to vote for her child in that Gerber baby competition every single year. This is because having a child and claims about children, childhood and parenting are a much more emotional minefield than say, sandwiches. Our emotional response to posts about children and pregnancy and all things baby elicits comments and likes, which leads Facebook to over represent those types of posts in our newsfeed.
Also, if you scroll through twenty posts about the weather and stumble upon one annoying post about a baby, guess which one you are going to complain about? Here is a hint: it won’t be the snow.
But all in all, this should give us parents a little room to breathe without feeling like we are the pariahs of the internet. And now, maybe all of our internet ire can be focused on all those people who talk incessantly about their Paleo Diet.
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