I’ve always loved sharing pics of my life and kid on Facebook and Instagram. When I was a new mom at home alone, it was a great way to connect with friends and family I felt isolated from. But there’s such a thing as oversharing—that’s when social media etiquette comes in. A friend of mine once posted a picture of her daughter’s social security card with a caption about how exciting it was to get the document. I was quick to warn her about cyber criminals who use social security numbers to make fake identities, and advised her to black out the number.
It’s a scary world out there, and if you’re expecting, now’s the time to think about what you want to share (or if you want to share at all). Ideally, you’ll want to decide before family members post a baby announcement or pics of your newborn and you lose control.
Personally, I don’t have a lot of hard-and-fast rules. I post pics, videos and funny stories about my kid because my family lives far away. I try not to put up anything that’ll embarrass her now that she’s a teen (once you hit share, it’s hard to undo). If you’re planning on sharing before your kid’s old enough to consent to it, you may want to consider making your Instagram account private, or your Facebook photos only viewable to friends.
If you don’t want pics of your baby on Facebook, let everyone know your rules. You’ll have to tell them over (and over) again at birthday parties, playdates, camp and so on. I have a cousin who doesn’t like pics of her kid on Facebook, so I make sure not to post any with her daughter in them. It doesn’t mean I don’t have a few adorable pics of that munchkin on my phone, but I’m respectful of her wishes.
If you’re okay with posting some moments but not all of them, make that clear. Do you want to decide when to announce your baby’s arrival? Make sure all your visitors and the people you tell are aware; otherwise, a well-meaning relative will inevitably spill the beans. Are you okay with posed group shots, but not candids you may not know about? Let everyone know your wishes—especially if you don’t have social media accounts of your own.
No matter what you decide, take lots of pictures, social media etiquette aside. Looking back at those cute chubby cheeks will bring you joy for years to come.