Whoa: Most Parents Post Pics of Their Newborns On Facebook Within ONE HOUR of Their Birth

Does this mean we're raging, unrepentant social media addicts, or just really into sharing our lives' happiest moments? Probably both.

Aug 28, 2013 at 12:00am | Leave a comment

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Errgghh, social media overload.

So, you guys, this new study came out.  It shows that most U.K. parents post photos of their newborn babies on Facebook within ONE HOUR of the kids' birth (specifically, the average time of pic-sharing was 57.9 minutes after the kid's grand entrance to humanity).

I haven't had kids, so my perspective on this might be a bit skewed. I know -- er, I HEAR -- that becoming a parent is one of life's most glorious, fulfilling, world-expanding and awe-inspiring moments. And I get that it's something parents want to share with friends and family as soon as humanly possible; the wonders of social media, smartphones, iPads, etc., make it humanly possible a lot faster than ever before.

But to me, posting within ONE HOUR seems, like, shockingly, unnecessarily fast. I understand the urge to share that sh*t pronto (kind of, I guess). But I would think -- speaking, like I said, from my child-free standpoint -- that new moms and dads might be too busy doing other, more important things immediately after popping out a kid. Like bonding with said kid. Feeding said kid. Just sitting there and staring at said kid with mushy-gushy love eyes. I imagine, if it were me, I'd want to lie there in my hospital bed, for a long long time, giving my crotch a rest and just savoring the moment, staring at my new addition and eating up the powdery-fresh novelty of a newborn head to rub my face against while emitting small squeaky noises.

To me, the less-than-an-hour stat perfectly illuminates one of the weirder and more alarming aspects of modern culture: our growing overreliance with technology and our collective obsession/addiction  with staying connected AT ALL TIMES EVERY SECOND OF EVERY DAY OMG. Like, is it even possible for us to do something, enjoy something, have a Moment -- even one of life's Biggest Moments -- without instantly documenting it to prove it happened? It just ... makes me sad.

Yeah, I'm on social media as much as the next person; Twitter, FB, Instagram, all the usual suspects are sites I generally check in with every day. But I'm always a bit surprised by the friends who feel the need to share something cool/beautiful THE EXACT INSTANT IT'S HAPPENING, because to me, that feels like cheapening the moment. I.e., it's become more important to show off the beautiful sunrise mountain view than to experience and appreciate the beautiful view directly, in the moment.

All this ties in, I think, with FOMO and social comparison -- the need to constantly prove, via fast and easy social media outlets, that one's life is, like, over-the-top amazing, bursting at the seams with hot partners, great friends, gourmet food, perfect hikes, sunny ocean vistas, and bouncing, happy babies. It can start feeling false, and forced.

Which reminds of a Slate story I read the other day about how, despite being constantly connected to friends and family via the Internet and social media, loneliness is literally killing us. Studies on elderly people and isolation showed that people without enough social interaction were twice as likely to die prematurely, and that increased mortality risk is, shockingly, comparable to the one associated with smoking (!). Plus, Slate says loneliness is "about twice as dangerous as obesity." And in two surveys, 40 percent of adults said they were lonely (up from just 20 percent in the 1980s).

It's getting increasingly obvious that our love affair with social media might be a fun distraction (hey, it gives us something to do while in line at the DMV). But it isn't genuinely making us happier or more connected; it's actually doing the opposite. And I expect that the more we choose computers over real, live human connections, the lonelier and sadder we'll become.  

Does that mean I plan on forsaking Facebook anytime soon? Probably not, though I have cut back on the time I spend there (no, really, I have!). Does it mean that, if I become a mom, I'll be begging my nurse to hand me my iPhone 30 seconds after popping out my offspring Um, hope not.

Do you think social media makes you feel more or less connected to people and the world around you? How quickly did you (or would you) post your newborn's pic online?