Facebook Etiquette: Stop Spreading the News

Facebook Etiquette: Stop Spreading the News

Dear Emily Posts of Social Media,

I witnessed something this weekend that got me thinking about Facebook etiquette and the dispensing of Big News.

Here's the gist. Two people experienced a big life event (engagement) on Friday night. Before either of the involved parties had a chance (read: had recovered from their hangovers enough) to hop on Facebook and either change their status or make the announcement, several of their Facebook friends had already graffitied their walls with congratulations.

This touched a nerve. Maybe it's the drama queen in me, but I feel like when someone has Big News to share, whether good or bad, the involved party has the right of first mention. For example, I can think of three women (Wait, four. No. Five. Good lord, my Facebook friends are bunnies) I know who are currently pregnant and who have not yet said anything about those pregnancies on their Facebook pages. They are all in various stages of gestation from tiny bean baby to about-to-pop. It's not my business to say anything. Maybe they're still waiting for the magical 12-week safe zone before they share the inevitable bun-in-the-oven pic. Maybe they're waiting to cut the cake at their gender-surprise party. Maybe they're seeing if they can hold off until the kid's in college before anyone realizes they've spawned.

Whatever the reason, I know that I will not utter even one syllable about those pregnancies on Facebook until the mother (or father) drops the big news.

Because here's the thing. 1) Their news is their news and they deserve the right to announce it in whatever way they see fit. You only get so many opportunities to announce Big News on Facebook, and it's your prerogative to simply change your relationship status and wait for people to go ballistic or post a picture of the ring/sonogram or make a YouTube video chronicling your entire relationship that you'll ask all of your friends to share in the hopes that it will go viral and you and your partner will be able to land a coveted CBS sitcom about your journey from wasted barflies to respectable engaged/procreating people.

2) When you post your congratulations on the wall of someone who has unannounced news, it's not about them. It's about you. It's about your need to show the world that you knew before everybody else knew. Because you didn't have to post it on their wall. If you're such good friends with these people that you got word of the news long before the rest of the world did, you probably have other means through which to contact them. Text them. Email them. Send them (uh, hello?) a private Facebook message. Because their news is not about you. It's about them. So, take several seats, Justin Timberlake, and let Jimmy Fallon have his moment.

What say you? Should we wait before spoiling someone's big news on Facebook?

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