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Posted July 19, 2010 | comments Leave a comment

Jessica Wiant: Facebook has gone overboard

There's a new sensation that's overtaking the Web and changing the way people interact, and, no, I don't mean Facebook.

Facebook is old news -- everybody and their grandmother knows all about Facebook.

What I'm actually talking about is the way that parents-to-be and parents are using it.

When I was in college I did an internship in Washington and stayed with three roommates -- one each from Boston College, Hamilton College and Cornell University.

Those were the days when to be a member of Facebook you had to be from a certain echelon of educational institutions. Theirs were cool enough. Mine, a land-grant public university, wasn't there yet.

I hadn't heard of Facebook then, but it wasn't more than a way to brag about how many "friends" you have, kind of like a six-degrees of the Ivy League.

Then Facebook opened up to all college students. Then all students. Then the floodgates were pretty much knocked loose permanently.

Now, Facebook has given an Internet platform to whomever wants it, and we get the pleasure of reading what our long-lost elementary school classmates had for breakfast, what time our former college professor made it to the gym and when our ex-co-worker has a hangover.

Parents-to-be, though, they take maximum advantage of this platform.

When I became pregnant last year, I had several acquaintances on the same track.

First came the ultrasound photos: "My little peanut!"

Then the belly photos: "13 weeks!"

And the decorating-the-nursery photos: "The crib is all put together!"

At the time, I was enjoying following along with those in the same boat.

Then as due dates approached, the Facebook sharing got a little ... uncomfortable.

A few times now, I have pretty much followed along with someone's labor in real-time. Thanks to smart phones, pictures of the baby are uploaded before she's even been wiped clean. A freshly born baby can be kind of a shock to see.

I have reluctantly joined the pack by posting periodic updates on my little bundle.

I find out when other babies roll over, or eat cereal, or sleep all night, and post when my baby crawls, pulls up and gets his third tooth.

As questionable as I found sharing the whole birth experience with 146 of my "friends" online, comparing baby notes on Facebook has turned out to be kind of nice. I am sure this is especially true for new moms who find it easier to log on than to load up the wee one for an outing in the heat.

When it comes down to it, I haven't met a parent or parent-to-be who didn't want to brag about their baby. The question is, who do you want to brag to, and how much?

As a mom, I have come to love comparing notes and hearing stories. People who aren't parents, though, might not be as thrilled to see your baby right out of the birth canal.

I try to keep this in mind, but my profile is unquestionably baby-dominated these days: As my son gets older, bragging about each new development get harder to resist. Like so many other things about parenthood, what you decide to share is up to you.

Contact Jessica Wiant at jwiant@nvdaily.com. For more "That's Life" and other family news go to www.nvdaily.com/moms.


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