Proper Facebook Etiquette

#1045 Pregnant drama on Facebook

Wednesday 26th August, 2009

Dear Mariann,
I have a problem. Read your Blog from the BBC and think you might help. I told my parents a couple of weeks ago that the GP told me I was about 10 weeks pregnant. My family is Catholic and we talked to our priest and all the family who have been good about the whole thing. The problem is that I use Facebook and MSM a lot. Only one friend knows (through family connections) and we live in a village but my school is away in another city. I would like to avoid all the gossip when I start Sixth Form in September and think I could post my news on Facebook – so it would not be drama next term.

What do you think? I’m not sure who the guy might be (had an off the rails time but no boyfriend).

Add to last question. Discussed my problem with our priest and he suggested I could tell people on Facebook but might want to ask you – he reads your blog as there is a youth church group.

(to protect the identity of the Anonymous poster, some of the details have been edited from the original (and now removed) comments to the post I Hate My ex Husband / Wife)

First I must commend you on your sensible set of measures and support network that has got you this far. Pregnancy is a wonderful status to share. Yes, I am sure there will be disapproval from many sides, but the fact that you already have reacted responsibly is very much the making of you and putting yourself and life back together after a period that was ‘off the rails’. Dramas enters our lives in many ways, but it is how we choose to deal with them that says a great deal about the who we are, and who our friends say they are.

Far for me to repeat what you have no doubt already heard from parents and other sources, Sixth Form is tough at the best of times. Pregnant and commencing higher level studies is not going to be easy. However, this is where some key networks could provide some stability and stop you from going quite mad when everyone else around you is telling you what to do, how to feel etc.

I think that you’ve already made up your mind regarding how to ‘tell’ the rest of your friends etc. If they are already on Facebook a simple update would provide opportunity to broadcast this to as many people in as short a period as possible. And without the inevitable texting feedback that a mobile phone SMS. would encourage. HOWEVER, your update may not be taken seriously. Be prepared to receive ‘are you joking?’ comments. It is also likely that your update will be forwarded across numerous shared networks and cross-posted between friends-of-friends. The digital equivalent of Chinese Whispers if you will. Chinese Whispers is fine as, if you are the subject of rumour and gossip, you are usually the last to know. the most potentially damaging and upsetting details Facebook on the other side is both open and very visually graphic. Are you prepared to see a visible gossip round table of ‘oh did you hear that such and such is pregnant?’ And then the additional commentary from this…

Such streams of conversation does not mean that friends are necessarily malicious, just that they are a little thoughtless in how you may feel about such cross-postings. So in one way by updating, with ‘I am pregnant’ is to open the proverbial Pandora’s Box and invite numerous posts and interuptions from friends. Not to mention the attitude that they are now permitted to comment on you as you have opened the box for you.

What I advise is to think before you post. A Status Update that reads as ‘I am pregnant’‘Great news! I pleased to announce that I am 10 weeks pregnant and thriving!’ This pre-empts any challenge to your state of mind and feelings on the matter and quite frankly if they can’t be happy for you then more fool them. (This may not reflect the true state of affairs, but ‘they’ do not need to know that!) invites more to be said than another that reads,

As for the father of the baby. Is he potentially included in your Facebook network too?… Certainly this is another point to think about. Would you want to find out about your potential parent status via Facebook. Perhaps not. He, therefore, may not approve of such liberated displays of status either. But this is your life and ultimately these are your choices. You are in control.

If you really want a ‘what would I do’ answer, I would be tempted to reveal my status through Facebook. This saves fingers on text messages and money on phone bills. The rest of the ‘squabbling’ and network ‘fall-out’ the rest can sort out for themselves. Plus this anitcipates the likely ‘look at her’ Mean / Gossip Girls glances on the first day of term as everyone will already know and you will be ‘old’ news.

If all else fails build up your own Facebook network and start a pregnancy support group for young mothers and allow other young people to find and connect to you. You can’t be the only one in this situation. Another way to inform friends is to start a ‘Congratulations! I’m Pregnant Group’ and invite friends to join. This way you can send personal invites to friends and record their reactions through group postings 😉

Say ‘hi’ to your Priest. And apologies in advance if any of my remarks have offended his eyes on this blog. That was not my intention! – especially for a man of the cloth.

Is God his Friend on Facebook?

2 Responses to “#1045 Pregnant drama on Facebook”

  1. Dr Mariann Hardey says:

    @Anon, you're very welcome.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much

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