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Good Luck Trying To Keep A Secret In The Age Of Social Media

The baby we’d waited so long to announce, was announced for us.

26/05/2017 3:43 PM AEST | Updated 26/05/2017 3:44 PM AEST
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It should go without saying that one of the first rules of social media etiquette in terms of announcements is you do not announce someone else's news before they do.

It's taken nine long months, you've been through all of the ups and downs of pregnancy, and then finally your baby arrives. You've been dreaming of the moment you can announce the arrival to the world, only to log on to your social media feed to public messages of congratulations. Your phone begins buzzing with people congratulating you on the news they've just discovered via someone else's announcement on Facebook. The very announcement that should have been yours to make.

In the day and age where social media is part of most of our daily lives, the social media announcement, or reveal of any major life event is an exciting one. Social media helps us to keep in contact with friends and family that live in different parts of the world, or those acquaintances that may have been lost along the way otherwise.

The social media announcement of these major events is often the second or third 'tier' in our announcement schedule. This may seem strange to many of the older generations, but for those of us who've had Facebook as a fixture in our lives for the better part of our adulthood, it's the norm.

There might be numerous reasons why people have made the choice not to announce their news.

Back in 2012, after almost 12 months of trying to fall pregnant, my husband and I finally had some exciting news. We've never been ones to wait until the magical 12-week mark to tell our immediate family, so of course they were privy to our news almost immediately.

As time went on, we told those around us as we saw them, and when that moment arrived, to see our little bub on the ultrasound monitor, we were relieved to finally make it to that monumental (or it felt like it at the time) milestone.

Neither of us was in any rush to make the social media announcement just yet though. For some reason, we were both happy with our friends and family knowing, the ones that we saw in person regularly, that we didn't need to make the announcement yet. I think we both saw the half way mark as the 'safer' option for the big reveal. In saying that, it was still something that both of us very much looked forward to, when the appropriate time came.

Then it happened. I logged on to my Facebook feed to see that someone else had decided to announce my pregnancy for me. I was not only emotionally gutted, I was also incredibly nervous. We weren't ready yet. The pregnancy still didn't seem 'solid' enough. It was too early. What happened if I miscarried? I wasn't prepared to make that additional announcement down the track.

Then, suddenly, I had messages on my phone from people saying things like:

"Omg, are you pregnant, I had no idea!"

"Why didn't you tell us sooner?!"

Many were well-meaning messages of congratulations, although some were disappointed that they had to find out from someone else.

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This wasn't the last or only time either. After nine months of anticipation, the birth of our first baby was announced by not one, but two separate people, before we'd even had the chance to tell all of our nearest and dearest ourselves. The baby we'd waited so long to announce, was announced for us. We learned the hard way. So when the time came to announce the arrival of our second bub, we both not only temporarily deactivated our social media accounts, but we added the caveat to our messages and phone calls: "Please keep our news off social media until we've announced it."

It should go without saying that one of the first rules of social media etiquette in terms of announcements is YOU DO NOT ANNOUNCE SOMEONE ELSE'S NEWS BEFORE THEY DO.

This includes, adding a photo to your Facebook or Instagram page, and writing a message of congratulations on someone else's social media page. If in doubt, have a quick look at their page, ask them if they've made it public news yet, message them privately, or simply don't say anything at all.

There might be numerous reasons why people have made the choice not to announce their news. They may have a history of infertility, miscarriage or stillbirth, and the thought of making the precious news so public is unnerving. They might be choosing to keep it private for security purposes, after all, once it's on the Internet it's hard to keep anything secure and private.

Or they may simply want to keep the news to themselves, to marvel in the wonderment that is pregnancy, the fact that they can finally pick names, or buy those tiny baby clothes. After all, it will become very obvious, rather quickly, so why not keep it quiet for just a little while longer?

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