Social Media Fiend or Friend

Updated on July 11, 2014
M.C. asks from Tustin, CA
16 answers

Per my blog...i find myself talking to my mamma-friends and my own kids about how today’s technology and social media are bittersweet. Remember when not that long ago (well, maybe 20 years ago is long ago) we were introduced to the concept of e-mail, as we signed up for our hour at the ‘computer lab’ since only a handful of us owned a computer.

However, with the amazing opportunities social media provides I find myself scratching my head at my mamma-friends use of social media. I am not referring to the typical ‘etiquette’ of asking someone to be tagged, but more of the personal sensitivity when using media such as Facebook or Instagram.

Am I stuck in ‘the olden days’ when I think of my childhood and how our parent’s told us not to talk about birthday parties at school to avoid hurting someone’s feelings? Yes, I know my kids and myself included, won’t be invited to every event, nor do I want to be, but seeing a posted picture showing the world the group of kids YOU invited or in essence excluded, seems insensitive and actually rather arrogant. Why does posting every event appeal to my fellow peers? Is this part of the self-entitlement the media speaks of?

What I find most ironic is when friends ask me not to mention a birthday party since another mom from my playgroup or in our neighborhood was not invited, but in turn, post a picture of the event with everyone in it! It’s one thing to post a picture of your immediate family in the picture and mention you celebrated something, but mom-to-mom, what are we now instilling in our kids by these posts?

I would love to hear your two cents on the subject.

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answers from Los Angeles on

What? I thought we were just sharing the joy. I'm not involved in mummy-politics (I don't know many mummies socially) so that sort of thing goes under my radar. I recently posted pictures of my son's birthday party, where my 9 year old had his first ever visit from his first ever real best friend. He's a loner, and I wanted his family around the country to share our happiness at his beautiful friendship.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

sounds to me as if moms are 'instilling in our kids' a sense of entitlement, and the 'right' to be miffed and victimized if anyone else has fun that doesn't involve them.
but then, i never agreed with the convoluted sense of secrecy and dishonesty around 'don't discuss the birthday parties at school' either.
i suppose it's my advancing age, but what i remember from being a kid is that most of us had limits on the number of kids we could invite, and the only parties i *expected* to attend were those of my closest friends. if i was put out at not being invited to a party that was being discussed, it was a momentary pique that i've long forgotten, and goes down in the annals of 'things about life kids need to learn.'
what a fragile bunch of posies people have become.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

It never bothers me when I see photos and posts from parties and events I wasn't invited to. I don't think this is a social media thing at all, I think you feel insecure about being left out for some reason.
And what do you mean "what are we instilling in our kids by these posts?" My kids didn't start using social media until middle school, plenty old enough to understand they don't get invited to every party, every time. And they certainly don't waste their time looking at the FB comments of me and a bunch of other moms! I promise your kids don't give two hoots about what you and your friends are talking about online.
So really, I don't see any problem at all, but clearly my attitude and disposition is quite different than yours.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I wanted to add, FB was a God Send when our daughter was in college. She was over 2500 miles from home and just being able to message her and just see her photos and posts was incredible. We were not having to call her on a land line or interrupt her on her cell. And same for her. She could see our pages and keep up with us and all of our family here at home. It is what YOU make it.

To tell you the truth. I think some people are just personally too involved in what others think of them. They have just never matured emotionally.

I honestly only want people to be safe, loved and happy in their lives. Everybody deserves this.

If it wasn't FB, they would be stirring the pot by land line phones. Or mailed letters, or over the backyard fences. This has been going on since people could communicate. FB did not invent immature adults.

But because some people judge others they assume others judge them. You get back what you put out there.

Parents project their feelings on their children. Lots of assumptions can be passed onto our children. "I noticed Suzy had a party" ," I wonder why we did not know about that party?" "Are you still friends with Suzy?", "Did she tell you she was having a party?" "Did you see the pictures of that party?"

Why the heck is the parent even worried about it? And for goodness sakes do not drag your child into it. IF the other parent mentions. "We sure missed your daughter at Suzy's party, then THAT is the time to say, "oh no, we never received an invitation" THEN it can be discussed ect. Do not seek drama and do not cause drama. We are grown ups and we should no longer be acting like 8 year old kids.

I never feel shunned, or hurt when I am not invited to an event, or not included n something. The reason? Because I have events and parties and know, even though I would love to invite everyone, I cannot afford it.

I also know that things can get lost. I have sent out emails, evites and invitations to people who never responded. I have called and left a message and for whatever reason.. they just did not get the message. I cannot go knocking on their doors. I tried to find them and contact them, but it just did not happen. What more can I do? And can I REALLY believe they never got 1 of these messages? I don't know, I do not have time to worry, I just respond, with a copy of the email I sent and proof from evite!

FB in my life has been AWESOME! But we are adults. We do not have hidden agendas. The things we post are taken for what they are. If someone does not agree, we move on or ignore it. If we are completely appalled or whatever, we drop that person or "hide" them.

And believe me there are some heated discussions, but we still respect that others have their own opinions. That is what adults do.

I have tons of extremely conservative friends. They post some scary stuff about all sorts of things. Eeep! When it gets to be too much for me to deal with I "hide" them. That way if I need to contact them I can still get to them.

Some people just cannot handle FB, so they need to just stay away from it.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Richland on

Back in my day we were told not to talk about parties but it never happened. I remember not being invited to some and it hurt but then I didn't invite everyone either. When I had kids I employed a simple remedy, "why didn't we invite everyone from the class?" Because we couldn't. Do you like the other kids? Yes. So accepting this don't you think the kids that didn't invite you like you as well but their mom limited the invites?

My kids were fine with this.

So I have to ask, why does your generation feel the need to find something in everything to be offended with? Is it really so hard to just accept they didn't mean anything malicious by their actions? They could only invite who they could and it is their kid's birthday! The posting isn't the problem. The problem is you and a lot of others decided to take a negative approach to the post. That is your choice to do.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

Simple. The mom's have the facebook accounts, not the children. The children are the ones who would have their feelings hurt, not the moms. So no, don't point blank tell a little kid "we're having a party and you're not invited.", but don't worry about the mom's seeing the pics on facebook after the fact. We mom's understand that not everyone can be invited to the party because we plan parties! The kids will probably find out about the party after the fact anyway, because kids talk, but the kids aren't seeing the pics on fb unless their moms are showing them.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

If I was intentionally avoiding inviting someone to a party or whatnot, I wouldn't have them as a FB friend either. It wouldn't matter if I posted a picture or not.

I can't recall ever purposely keeping something like that secret from another adult. I just do what I do and assume grown women are not going to get dramatic about the fact that I have more than one friend. If they do, then they are probably too high maintenance for me.

What bothers me on FB is when people air their emotional laundry on it. I think it is inappropriate and immature to make snarky comments about family issues, or vent about your current argument with your significant other. My own FB wall is a drama-free zone.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on

Though I am still on it, I personally believe that FB is a destructive force. Whether that's by design is another question.

Yes, social media in general has diminished social etiquette. Look at how many posts we see here where moms lament the failure to RSVP. IMHO it is due to sites like FB which lead people to believe that other people in their lives just "know" what is going on.

I disagree with the idea that people should "buck up" and not get upset that they're not invited to everything. That would be as if a friend of mine knocked on my door and showed me pictures of a party where we had mutual friends and where I was pointedly NOT invited when there was no obvious reason. I would not do that to a friend. I can't believe many people would here either. And I can't believe that people here think that is OK to do to CHILDREN. If you don't want it to be my business then don't make it my business! And PS: Lots of younger kids are on FB. Do moms here really think that stuff doesn't get around?

Again, I don't expect to get invited to everything and taught my children the same thing. But there is an irony in situations like the one you describe.

I do like the new feature on FB where you can "unfollow" someone. I unfollow people when they post a ridiculous number of selfies, or when they seem to believe that it's important to routinely post asinine regurgitated political talking points (either side). If I were in your shoes I would unfollow some of these moms and make better friends.

And that brings me to my final point - it is interesting that the people whom I respect the most (including a couple of close friends) are NOT on FB. They're too busy actually leading their lives than posting/gossiping/bragging every second of the day and night.


6 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

The party thing got out of control when it grew from a few close friends to "the whole class" and big party venues. Then every child had a sense of entitlement about being invited to everything, and no one had to deal with any disappointment at all. That's not a valuable life skill.

We always limited our son's parties to small groups of close friends, and we had them at home or maybe took 3 kids to a movie after the age of 10 or so. And he didn't go to every massive party he was invited to. He could only go if it was a really good friend, not because it was at a "cool" place! He learned to make choices as a guest and as a host.

If that philosophy were in place, and if people could enjoy other people's good news and good fun without turning it into a hurt-feelings thing about "why wasn't I invited?" then this whole social media thing wouldn't be as big a problem. Asking people not to talk about a party just increases the sense of isolation if you're not invited or sense of privilege if you are. That creates a problem when none should exist to begin with.

So in that sense, I think it's wrong to ask people not to post pictures. However, they shouldn't post any caption along the lines of "All the cool people were here" implying that anyone who wasn't invited is less than human. We should be able to enjoy each other's good times without jealousy. I see wedding pictures all the time of things I wasn't invited to - doesn't bother me a bit. If I wasn't invited, I'm not that close a friend but it doesn't mean that I can't enjoy their happiness.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Your post is just one of the many, many reasons why I deleted my facebook account a few months ago =)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Well, if you are smart, you use your FB settings so that the party posts only show up on the newsfeed of people who were invited to the event - it's not hard to do. Maybe that is what your friend did. Just because you saw it on FB doesn't mean she had the settings such that everyone could see it.

But in general, no, I am not offended when I'm not invited to something. I prefer small group activities, so I often do things with small parts of bigger groups of friends, and I expect that others in the group do the same.

The only time I did raise my eyebrows a bit was when I had offered to bring dinner to a pregnant friend (a new friend I didn't know very well). She call me last minute and said she was too tired and could we reschedule - I of course understood. Until later that same evening when she posted pics of her and some other people out on the town. Once I got past being miffed, I realized that she did me a favor, because I found out early on that she's not really a friend. In the 'olden days' before FB, I'm sure I would have found out the type of person she was eventually, it just would have taken longer.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I agree with you. Social media has a lot of downsides. I hadn't considered this one, but your right it is hurtful. However your story of mom who didn't wanted it mentioned but then posted photos, is a great example of how people don't think about who will be looking.

Regarding the post about sharing with relatives. Send it to them. When you post you open to the world. Do you really want the sexual offender get off to images of your kid? If he or she has a Facebook account they may be able to.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

I have not thought about the hurt feelings that might come from posting a party picture. I have thought more about putting children's pictures online without their parents' permission.

The only thing I can think of is to keep on teaching children (and maybe their mothers), "You are not entitled to be invited to every party someone you know is having. Your friends have guest limits, set by their parents, just as you do. Here's your chance to learn right now how not to be the center of the universe - and how not to allow yourselves to feel bad just because a friend is doing things without you."

If my child were to say, "But there are (gasp!) pictures all over Facebook!" I would first respond, "How do you know? You don't have an account!" Then I would say, "Why not? Can't you be happy for your friend anyhow?"

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I'm very cautious about what I post on FB - and as such do not post much. MY FB activity is mostly to like or comment on other peoples things.

My sister and SIL are not cautious at all. They are constantly posting pictures of their kid online and have no concerns. My sister also doesn't have any problem posting pictures of my kids, which I have asked her not to.

So... that being said... I would never post a picture of another child without their parents permission, and frankly, wouldn't go through the trouble to ask - just wouldn't post it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I would point blank ask her why she wanted you to keep her party a secret from so-and-so and then posted a picture about it for her to see. Pin her down. That's how you figure this out. And she needs you to out her. This is passive-aggressive. (Or maybe just aggressive.)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

It does sound like you're rather old fashioned. I understand though.

Social media is like meeting up at a coffee shop and a sitting around with everyone there and talking about stuff going on in your life. Like Cheers. Where everyone knows each other in that place, knows their name, what the look like, but doesn't know much more.

My brother goes to a coffee place every day. Those people all know him by name, they know he has a daughter, a granddaughter, and now a great grand child. Why? Because the got together in a setting and that setting is the only relevant thing in that relationship.

We go to McDonald's quite a bit for breakfast. There is a group of older people that get together every M-F at a certain time. They take in strays like us all the time. Almost half of the area in the playground is taken by this group. They come early then leave by the time the playground opens.

They don't go to each others homes to get together, they don't know the other people's family unless one of them pass away, then they go to that funeral. But they are only coffee group friends. It's their common ground.

This type of situation is different. I share stupid stuff sometimes. Goofy stuff. But I have "friends" that I will always enjoy having because they enjoy my stories and pictures.

My neighbors didn't invite us to their huge fireworks party. They invited almost all of our in-common friends. It hurt a little but you know what? They did that on purpose, they knew we were home and that we'd have said yes we'd love to join with the whole group and come. Life stinks sometimes and our friends want to have fun without us.

2 moms found this helpful
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