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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Your Fetus Doesn't Need Facebook

Posted By on Thu, Aug 4, 2011 at 8:00 AM

click to enlarge dearannaweb.jpeg

In my Facebook newsfeed, I saw that one of my friends added an unborn child to her profile in the "friends and family" section. It creeped me out. Is this really necessary? What's next -- deceased relatives? Pets? Am I just being miserly? 

Enough Is Enough

Oh, that Facebook. Always pregnant -- with ideas! In terms of deceased relatives, FB already offers memorial pages, and I think we can all attest to being friend-requested by our co-worker's cat (or equivalent), whose hobbies include "sitting on the computer" and "reading Garfield comics LOL JK I can't read." In other words, the future is now, my friend. And yes, it involves Facebook fetuses. Expectant parents can add unborn children to their profiles, as well as a name and the due date, if you're into that. Take heart, though, at least there's not (yet) an option that notes when a lady is on her period or apps that report on your digestion (probably because people voluntarily supply that information already).

No one ever said social media has to be useful all the time. If that were the case, then why would more than 700,000 people become a fan of "Ugh... I know what I wanna say. I just can't explain it"? Or why did I just watch the Shiba Inu Puppy Cam for 20 minutes even though no puppies are there? No, really, I want to know.

That said, it does seem potentially problematic to add "Expected: Child" to your Facebook family tree. What if something tragic happens? As my friend Carla put it, "I know many people who have miscarried, two in their third trimester, and I can't imagine having such private information then shared (and therefore inviting comment on) when you have to change this setting, especially for people with huge numbers of friends they don't really know well."

Then again, announcing your pregnancy on Facebook is exceedingly common, on par with those barfy "We're engaged!" relationship status updates. And the option to merely check a box to indicate that you're knocked up seems far more preferable than creating a separate page for your impending offspring, especially because it's technically against FB's rules for anyone under 13 to have a page. Not that that stops anyone.

All in all, this "womb with a view" option seems mostly harmless, a streamlined way for lazy people to share the good news with hundreds of people in one very small gesture. 

Not to be outdone, Google+ is rumored to have created a feature that allows you to instantly sterilize yourself after a predetermined amount of pregnancy-status-induced groans and eye rolls. 

I'm not sure what happens to your status after the due date passes, but we can probably rest assured it won't be as awkward as this:

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Social-media mistress Anna Pulley likes to give advice about how to play well with others on the internets. If you have a question about etiquette involving technology, shoot her a question at AskAnnaSF@gmail.com. 

Follow us on Twitter: @annapulley and @ExhibitionistSF or Facebook

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Anna Pulley

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