Yesterday I became an Aunty. I found out on Facebook.
I’m not estranged from my family, or living in a different time zone & actually get on well with my brother & sister-in-law, it’s just that the announcement was on Facebook before I’d had a chance to speak to my brother, so was the first thing I saw on my phone screen when I woke up. Obviously my first thought was ‘Oh my goodness, the baby has come early!’ But this was quickly followed by ‘I wish I’d been able to hear my brother tell me & hear his excitement instead of reading it on here’. It didn’t take the sparkle off the new arrival, but it did make me feel a bit sad. It’s just one example of Facebook being used in appropriately, in my opinion & I don’t like it!
I am starting to suspect I was born late. When I say late, I don’t mean in an actual birth way – in fact, I think that was probably the last time I was punctual – I mean about 50 years too late. I am stuck in 2013, with old fashioned values.
Now, I love a gadget as much as the next girl, so in that way I guess I am a thoroughly modern millie, but what I find hard is the values, manners & down right rudeness that goes on today & I just can’t cope.
Posting a birth on Facebook is the quickest route to getting the message out there. I get it. I understand the excitement, having been there myself with Little T. I even understand that there may have been too many people to contact directly, but is it really too much hassle to contact just those who share the child’s DNA, as a minimum?!
Before Little T was born, we planned out a list of ‘who should be told & how’ so once he arrived we rang our parents first, followed by brothers, sisters, aunties, uncles, cousins & close friends. We then texted slightly less-close friends & colleagues & only once we had spoken to or texted everyone directly, did we put anything on Facebook. I would be mortified to find that anyone we cared about had found out this way, as it was such an important event in our lives. Our loved ones had supported us through the pregnancy & it feels so impersonal to find out something so special on a computer.
My sister-in-law’s mum uploaded pictures of the gorgeous little lady almost immediately after meeting her, in which she is holding her & posing with the new family. Fine, but at this point, my parents hadn’t even met their new granddaughter, or I my niece & total strangers were already able to see her on the information super highway. I was more upset about this than the way I’d found out. I wanted to see her before the ‘general public’ & have a special time discovering that she has my brother’s hair & my sister-in-law’s nose before this was being debated on a social networking site.
I do love Facebook for many reasons. It is fantastic as a way of keeping in touch & up to date with old friends & seeing details of ‘hatches & matches’ (but not despatches – surely that should go without saying?!) for those people not in my immediate circle of friends. I realise I could just close my account & be done with it, but I like to know what people are up to (all part of my FOMO) & it’s brilliant platform for sharing pictures with people – we even have a private group for photos of Little T that we share with family who are on there & friends we don’t see as often as we’d like. I upload videos of him playing & photos of him rather than emailing them or printing them off.
It’s a great way of sharing an event, although i personally think the ‘maybe’ button should be changed to ‘if I don’t get a better offer in the meantime’ as that’s what people seem to use it as – somehow it matters less about attending an event you’ve been invited to on Facebook than by a conversation, or even – remember these – proper invites?!
I even like it as a way of saying happy birthday, but I do love to send cards & – I know I sound like an advert for Clinton’s here – I don’t think it should be a replacement. On my birthday this year, I had several people just put ‘HBD’ or, worse, ‘HB’. Seriously, are you that lazy that you can’t be arsed to write the additional 11 letters to actually say Happy Birthday properly?! Why bother at all?! I had to fight the urge to ask this, as I didn’t want to appear ungrateful.
I do have a few other bugbears with social media, but will keep it brief.
- The couples who are probably sitting next to each other when they write soppy messages to each other. Just turn around, move your mouth & – miraculously – words come out. You don’t need to announce your love via t’internet.
- Happy 1st Birthday to my beautiful daughter/son (or even HBD) – do they have a Facebook account? No. Pointless.
- People who post their inner most thoughts after a breakup. Go & see a trained counsellor. Or a doctor.
- Cryptic posts without going into detail. Attention seeking much?
When thinking about Facebook, I like to go with the golden rule ‘Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your mum to read’. Whilst writing this, I was reminded of this Charlie Brooker article from last year & rule 3 pretty much sums it up:
Dont be a dick.
I think that covers most bases, don’t you?
As a small disclaimer here, these views are my own & I’m not saying my way is the right way. Maybe I’m alone in thinking like this, but I worry Facebook will bring about the end for all personally delivered sentiments in the future. Wherever you stand, my friend summed it up yesterday when he said ‘it’s come to something when Facebook is considered to be a member of the family’.