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.