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Cavemen Stole Thunder, Too

All too often I’ve seen this happen in the years since Facebook became a communication staple:

A friend or family member shares good news with me. They have gotten engaged, or are having a baby, or some other delightful development. Wonderful!

Later as I browse Facebook I check their page to see if they’ve posted anything about it. Maybe a picture of an engagement ring or sonogram. If I see that they have not yet posted anything about the news, I know to keep mum on social media. Maybe they’re still sharing the news with their loved ones first. Maybe they do not want their employer to know yet that they’ll be needing maternity leave. There are many possible reasons. Regardless, most people know not to be the first one to post something if it is not their news to tell.

Yet still I have witnessed on more than a few occasions where people jump the gun and share the news of others. They post ‘Congratulations on your engagement!” on the bride’s wall or tag the expectant parents in a status about how happy they are that there will be a new baby in the family. I imagine with these spilling-the-beans posts there is the risk of important people being hurt that they’re finding out something so special second-hand. And of course someone hurt and disappointed that they didn’t get to announce their own news themselves.

So anyway my question is: Have we reached an age where it has become necessary to follow-up good news with “Don’t post anything yet!” or should this be an etiquette no-brainer?

I’m hoping the latter. But just in case, spread the word that Facebook privacy settings allow you to prevent others from posting on your wall or tagging you in a status without your permission, should the need for that extra privacy arise.    0630-14″

People have been stealing each other’s “thunder” since the dawn of mankind.  Facebook is just a new outlet to do it and to a broader audience.  You protect your privacy by not telling anyone the secret until you yourself are ready to go public with it.   Trusted friends or family who splat the news prematurely lose your trust  and the privileges of secret confidences for future news.


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  • Asharah July 10, 2014, 11:53 am

    The problem was around long before Facebook. They had a story somewhere in the old archives where a woman’s sister and mother were at the hospital when she gave birth. New Mom calls her Dad to tell him it’s a boy and finds out sis already called. She’s upset, husband thinks she’s overreacting until he calls his parents with the news and finds out sis called them too.
    We also had a BB poster who was having issues with overbearing Mom. She told Mom some news first and by the time she called anybody else in the family, Mom had already called them. And then sent a text back to her “Told before you did, haha!” So next time daughter had news, she called her mother last. And then Mom called her back to scream at her about how dare she tell the rest of the family her own news when it’s her right as her mother to tell everyone else.

  • cassandra July 10, 2014, 12:13 pm

    I just realized that everyone I know does add the “don’t post anything on facebook” to big announcements. sadly some inconsiderate people still do, I have called many out, in private, for doing it.

  • Basketcase July 10, 2014, 10:56 pm

    My MIL did this with our son.
    Decided she couldn’t wait 2 days after his birth before telling facebook all about it. I was checking my phone the morning I was due to go home, and her announcement of his arrival (with all the details) was the first post I saw.
    I was so angry. She had more than a dozen comments of “congratulations grandma” from her friends, when neither my husband or myself had told our friends yet.
    But I wasn’t surprised. She bullied us into telling everyone we were pregnant before we wanted to because she couldn’t really keep a secret. When we skyped the immediate family to tell them, no-one was surprised, they had all guessed thats what it was because she was bouncing up and down about “something she couldn’t tell”, and then when we told extended family a week or so later (once our 12 week scan results came back), they all responded with “we already knew”. Awesome.

  • littlebosammy July 11, 2014, 7:12 pm

    Don’t put anything on FB that you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of a newspaper. And don’t verbally share anything with known gossips. Sorry, but it all comes down to common sense

    • Embabes July 13, 2014, 10:17 pm

      Sometimes someone else tells your news to the gossip.

  • Adica July 11, 2014, 11:14 pm

    My brother learned about a long-time childhood friend’s suicide via Facebook. If people will do it with news like that, they’ll certainly do it about good news. Always add the no-social-media disclaimer.

  • Miss-E July 12, 2014, 3:42 pm

    My BIL proposed to his girlfriend onstage while singing a song he wrote about her in front of all of their friends and some family. Before they had even finished hugging everyone there (before she had told her PARENTS!) someone had posted the video on the internet! People are idiots.

  • Embabes July 13, 2014, 10:14 pm

    This happened to my husband and I on Tuesday. We welcomed our first child into the world at 8:53pm. It was a very important part of my plan that after sharing time with our parents a three closest friends who were there in the waiting room, my husband would announce the news on Facebook for our friends and family. I was disappointed to see, less than an hour later, a cousin of his posting all of our son’s “stats” on Facebook. I have no idea who told her the info that fast but regardless the new baby’s patients haven’t said anything yet. It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to see that this wasn’t her news to share. She thought is was since he shares a birthday with her son. No, just no.

    I’m hurt but not surprised unfortunately (and I never would have told this cousin news before anyone else, again I don’t know who told her). This cousin posted on Facebook about the death of their grandmother not an hour after that happened as well. No one should find out that grandma passed away from a tacky Facebook post.

    • Ellie July 14, 2014, 7:29 pm

      Congratulations on your newest family member! I’m sorry though about the cousin taking the moment away from you to share with the rest of your family and friends. Some people are just attention-hogs! A shame that she does that with sad news as well.

  • Ginger July 13, 2014, 10:33 pm

    I don’t think the person posting “Congrats on your engagement!” is stealing the person’s/couple’s thunder. I think some people are happy about the good news and want to congratulate them where they know the couple/person will see it. If someone has great news, but doesn’t want the world to know yet, they SHOULD tell the people that know “Please don’t say anything on Facebook/Twitter/Myspace yet. I want to announce it first.” My sister did that when she had a baby. I wasn’t going to post any pictures anyway, but I’m glad she told me that she wanted her husband to post first and then I could post away!

  • Belly July 17, 2014, 3:39 am

    I’m a sonographer, and do a lot of 20 week obstetric scans.

    I can appreciate the social aspect to what is actually a medical scan, but I really have to shake my head when relatives present have to be *told* not to post the baby’s gender on Facebook whilst mum is still on the exam table!!

    Really, people!!

  • Ginger0630 August 14, 2014, 9:41 pm

    I despise people who steal thunder! When my sister had her baby a few months ago, I did NOT put a word about it on Facebook until SHE did and told me it was ok to put pictures and information up. I didn’t even write that she was pregnant until she told me I could. I was super excited about it, but it wasn’t my time to shine.

    She wanted to keep the baby’s name a secret. I was with her in the delivery room and when she finally gave birth, she told me the name. I went outside to the families and my dad asked me what her name was. I said “I’ll let sister and hubby tell you.” I did NOT want to take that away from my sister and her husband! That was their announcement to make, not mine.

    This also reminds me of my best friend and her first baby. She went to dinner with her husband’s family and was going to announce the news of her pregnancy there. When husband’s sister arrived, she announced, “Guess who’s going to be an aunt?!” My friend was dumbfounded!!! If I were her, I probably would have gotten up and left, after telling off the sister. I’m still astonished at that story. But the sister is the type to steal thunder and make everything about her.