Q: I'm expecting my first baby this summer, and I know I'm not alone: My Facebook news feed has been inundated lately with pregnancy selfies — moms-to-be standing in front of their bathroom mirrors documenting their growing bump. Then, of course, there are the ubiquitous ultrasound pics. How much is too much for parents-to-be to share online?
A: Congratulations! I love this question. Who among us doesn't want to share the joy of becoming parents with our family and friends? Before social networking sites such as Facebook, we would share these moments in face-to-face gatherings, pulling out the ultrasound picture and having wonderful conversations about all the possibilities. Today, it's super easy to share every moment of your pregnancy through your social networks.
But should you? Well, that depends on several things. First of all, remember that as you post these pictures, you are essentially building your child's digital footprint. In documenting your pregnancy this way, you're creating the early foundation of everything that can be known about your child. How do you feel about that?
Also, it's important to consider how both you and your partner feel about sharing what is often seen as a private process with anyone who can connect with you via your social network. Are you both in agreement about sharing this content?
My advice is for you to document your pregnancy as much as you would like, but think carefully about which of those photos you will share on social-networking sites. Pay attention to who can see the images and consider making them available just to family and close friends. Don't share the images on open networks where anyone can see them. And be careful about how you tag them or comment about them — you don't want to give out specific information about your location or your child-to-be.
—Elaine Young is the author of Tuned-In Family: How to Cope, Communicate & Connect in a Digital World, and is a professor at Champlain College, where she specializes in digital marketing and social media. Got a question about navigating the digital world with your family? Send it to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.