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Thank you for (not) sharing: How to avoid pregnancy TMI

April 17, 2014 at 9:27 AM ET

Video: Etiquette expert Thomas Farley of whatmannersmost.com talks about how to share pictures and stories of your baby and pregnancy online without annoying your social followers.

From baby on board to baby overload, it seems every second of parenthood is now online, with families inundating their social media accounts with the latest about their pregnancies or their children.

In a recent TODAY.com survey, 60 percent of respondents said it annoyed them when other parents overshared. Yet, 60 percent also admitted they were guilty of oversharing some or all of the time.

TODAY's Savannah Guthrie noted that she was single most of her life and found it annoying when people shared too much. But now that she's pregnant, she’s proud to show off her growing baby.

“I have some ultrasound pictures now and I really love to share them with people,” Guthrie said.

Etiquette expert Thomas P. Farley, aka “Mister Manners,” recommended that people restrict the circles of friends they share with. So if you have 3,000 Facebook friends, it’s likely that all 3,000 don't need to see the ultrasound pictures, he noted.

“There’s definitely a fine line between posting and boasting,” Farley said. “The other thing is, you want to keep gross stuff off Facebook entirely.”

Here are some guidelines Farley recommends before you hit the “post” button:

  • Don’t announce a pregnancy online to the world before you’ve had the chance to share the news with those who are closest to you first.
  • Have a conversation with your partner early on about how much you want to share about the pregnancy online. Both of you should be in agreement. 
  • Be mindful of seeming to boast about your pregnancy if some members of your circle have been trying to get pregnant without success. Without intending to do so, your posts could prove a painful reminder of their own situation.
  • On Facebook, consider restricting personal details about your pregnancy and your children to a smaller circle of friends. You can do so by giving the post a Custom Privacy setting.
  • Be cautious about sharing the less pleasant aspects of pregnancy online, such as morning sickness, the duration of your labor, etc. These topics will turn off some of your friends—especially the ones who are single. Once the baby is born, the same goes for spit-ups and dirty diapers.
  • If a family member records your delivery in real time, keep that video as a memento, but don’t post it on social media. Some things are better off saved for family-member viewing only.
  • Once your baby is born, you will want to tell the world. No one should attempt to take that excitement from you by prescribing how many posts are enough. If they get bored of your baby pictures, they can always hide your updates. 
  • Do remember not to get so wrapped up in posting pictures that you forget to enjoy those moments with your baby that aren’t necessarily photographed. Those unchronicled occasions—when you’re not looking at your child through an LCD screen, but through your own two eyes—will often be the most special ones of all.

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