Last week, Facebook launched its IPO and is now a publicly-traded company. Mark Zuckerberg and his pals are all gazillionaires. And, who do they have to thank, in part, for their profound wealth? Moms. Obviously not all of their 901 million users are moms, but moms sure do love the social networking site.
Funny thing is, although we moms love to use Facebook, it seems that not everyone loves us using it.
While we're busy uploading picture of our cutie patooties, others are busy condemning us for over-sharing, or "oversharenting" as Steven Leckert at the Wall Street Journal recently said in an article about parents and Facebook. In the article, he claims that when it comes to his son and the internet, he and his wife are going to practice abstinence. No pictures, no status updates, nada. But, for most of us, parenting and Facebook go hand in hand.
Steven doesn't go so far as to call out other parents for over-sharing. He doesn't need to. Others have taken care of that already. Enter the site, STFU, Parents (Shut the F*** Up, Parents). This is a whole site dedicated to skewering parents who "over-share" about their kids online. Parents can get called out on the site for anything from being a sanctimommy to talking about bathroom behavior.
It's not that the site isn't funny or doesn't have a point; there are certainly some things we parents could refrain from posting on Facebook. But, here's my frustration. It's not just parents who over-share. Over-sharers come in all shapes and sizes.
Why is it OK to call parents out for over-sharing about their kids but no one calls out all of the other over-sharers? Why is it so annoying for moms to post the funny things our kids did, but it's just fine and dandy for someone else to post riveting details of their life like, "In the drive-thru at McDonald's and I don't know what to order."? Where are the STFU sites for everyone else? Look through a typical Facebook feed and a number of categories of over-sharers present themselves, including:
STFU, Triathletes: Swam 5,000 laps today, rode 154.5 miles on my bike, and ran 98.2 miles. Where is the site for the triathletes and marathon runners who post nothing but the stats of their workout regimens? Where is the site where everyone else gets to say, "Yeah, you! We swiveled in our chair 12 times and reached for a donut today."?
STFU, Hypochondriacs: I've been coughing up green phlegm for a week straight. Also, my husband has a kidney stone and if he doesn't pee it out soon, he's going to need a procedure. Where's the site that mocks people who share the graphic details of their various ailments online?
STFU, Overzealous Sports Fans: Man, can't believe (insert local football/basketball/baseball team) traded (insert: quarterback/point guard/pitcher). What a bonehead move. Our team's gonna suck this year! Where is the site that tells overzealous sports fans, who post play-by-play updates during games to STFU?
STFU, Office Worker: On my fifth out of 25 conference calls of the day. It's going to be another long night. Where's the site that calls people out for posting that Susie in HR never brings a cake for other people's birthdays (yet always takes a slice of the cake other people brought...)?
The argument for STFU, Parents seems to be that posts about kids are only interesting to other parents. But this is true of so many types of posts -- they're only really interesting to people involved in a similar hobby. Yet, all of these other over-sharers are allowed to continue their posts without fear of being publicly shamed. Parents, however, are vilified for simply acknowledging the fact that they have kids.
I actually don't mind that none of the other STFU sites exist (except for the hypochondriac one -- seriously, that stuff can get gross). Even though I'm not a sports fan, I appreciate the posts that my Facebook friends share about sports. After all, I have those sports fans to thank for helping me improve my Trivial Pursuit game. And, the office politics? Sometimes those posts remind me that it's nice to be having a break from those headaches now, and, when it's a former co-worker, I chuckle, remembering some of the office politics we used to navigate together.
The point is, the posts you share on Facebook, you're sharing with "friends." As friends, shouldn't we be more caring, tolerant and interested in each other's lives -- even if those lives (gasp!) involve children?
Dana Macario is a TODAY Moms contributor and Seattle mom to two sleep-depriving toddlers. Once properly caffeinated, she also blogs at 18years2life.blogspot.com
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