New York Social Media Marketing Expert Kris Ruby was recently featured on BRAVO discussing the “Sharenting” trend of parents who over-share on social media. To read the full feature article on BRAVO, click here
What is the meaning of Sharenting?
Sharenting: When parents post too much about their kids on social media
Sharenting means to overshare about your children on social media. Over-Sharenting is the word for parents who overshare about their babies (and children!) on social media through an endless stream of posts, updates and photos. A recent study indicated that over 80% of children under the age of 2 are believed to have an online presence. All of this is of course due to parents who have created digital footprints of their children’s every move on Facebook before they could even have a choice in the matter. This raises larger privacy concerns regarding the dangers of sharenting.
Social Media Over-Sharing About Your Children
There is a fine line between a healthy amount of cute photos and updates and too many baby pictures. People are usually happy for someone who just had a new baby, but they don’t want to be intricately involved in every minor move of the babies life, unless they are a super close friend or family member. That is when it turns from exciting to scary (and potentially annoying). There are some moments that new parents should share with their family that don’t need to be captured in an Instagram story. Parents may potentially be losing out on these moments in their quest to rack up more Instagram likes or to stage the perfect newborn photo. We see this with new Moms who hire makeup artists and photographers in their hospital rooms to get a picture-perfect Facebook photo for the revealing of their new baby. Social Media may be robbing us of the moments that matter most that inherently can’t be staged and you will never get back.
Why Oversharenting about your kids on social media is bad for personal branding
If you are actively using social media to build thought-leadership, you have most likely built up a personal brand. Perhaps you are known as a fashion blogger. Followers come to expect your fashion photos and critiques at New York Fashion Week. But then, after you have a baby, suddenly all of your posts are about the baby and the fashion posts decline in frequency. This confuses the followers you have built who associate your personal brand with a specific subject matter. While they are happy for your baby, they still expect to follow you for why they originally “subscribed” to your updates- for your fashion advice. This is a big mistake many new Moms can make. It can also get annoying if the new Mom never again posts anything else outside of baby photos.
Parental Social Media Habits: When it becomes too much
There is a real double standard when it comes to social media. It starts as soon as someone clicks they are engaged on Facebook. Suddenly you are then expected to congratulate every single milestone of the person’s new life. The engagement, the bachelorette, the bridal shower, the wedding, the honeymoon, the birth of the new baby, and then every single milestone of the babies life from 0 to 35. But what about your single friends? What Facebook milestones are every celebrated of theirs? None. According to Facebook, there is nothing celebratory in their life if they don’t have kids, which can create inherent loneliness for singles who opt not to have children. While new Moms are posting hundreds of photos of their kids, it is important to take into consideration the feelings of their single friends on social media who do not have children. While this is rarely mentioned, it is important to bring up.
Oversharenting: Why it annoys your Facebook friends
The great news is that you can now unfollow your friend while staying friends, or you can use Facebook’s new “pause” feature to take a break from them for 30 days. The baby’s first steps will no longer fill up your feed and you can check back in by going to their page directly when you want to get updates.
Parents who overshare online: how to stop it from taking over your newsfeed
If oversharenting is taking over your newsfeed, you can unfollow or pause your friends. You can also unfollow them the second they click “engaged,” because you know it is going to be an onslaught of every milestone for the next few years. If you were never that close to begin with, why become so intricately involved in their life anyway? The weird thing about social media and sharenting is that we follow people’s lives so closely- yet in reality, we probably weren’t invited to the wedding or baby shower and even if we were we most likely wouldn’t have shown up.
So why do we feel such social media pressure to ‘like’ our acquaintance’s posts?
Oversharing on Social Media: Can you tell a parent they are guilty of over sharing?
No. There is really no polite way to say anything unless you want to offend the new Mom or lose the friend entirely. However, if you have jumped on their social sharing baby bandwagon and notice they never like anything of yours, you can politely ask, “How come you never like my posts?” You may be told they are too busy with their new baby to have time to like your photos- but then how do they have time to post their babies photos and stage photo shoots, yet don’t have time to like anything that you post? There is a double standard when it comes to sharenting on social media.
Parental Oversharing: The real reason why parents overshare on social media
People over post because either they don’t care, have nothing to lose, or don’t know the difference. Also, many social media users don’t care about social media etiquette. If they aren’t using social media for business purposes or to build a personal brand, they don’t believe things like sharenting is applicable.