Study Says Moms Aren’t as Annoying on Facebook as Everybody Thinks

Catching snowflakes on their tongues.
Catching snowflakes on their tongues.

I realize there are many of you who would rather see a photo of someone’s fancy dinner than a shot of my kids catching snowflakes on their tongues.

Perhaps you prefer the selfie someone posts from the dentist’s chair? Maybe another Hipstamatic-captured sunset or animals dressed as humans really lights your fire?

In fact, the baby pic backlash got so bad that an extension for Google’s Chrome browser called that deleted baby photos from your feed and replaced them with stupid memes and Kim Kardashian selfies won a Webby Award last year. At the time, co-creator Chris Baker discussed the baby pic epidemic on his Facebook feed with the New York Times. “It’s like a certain part of the brain gets activated where they feel this crushing desire to share with the world their little creations.”

Popular and highly humorous website STFU Parents  —who even landed a book deal from all the parenting mockery — confirmed the problem: parents were over-sharing, and the rest of Facebook was over it.

Replace our little life creations with your food creations all you want, personalize your feed until nary a baby photo assaults your tender eyeballs, but you should know that all that complaining being done about moms posting too many photos of their kids on Facebook is hypocritical, and we now have a study to back us up.

As notes, we aren’t posting as many baby pics as you think. In fact, the new study suggests that a Facebook algorithm, not new parents, may be to blame. It’s the first study on how mothers of young children use social media and suggests that new moms are not as annoying on Facebook as all the baby photo haters would have you believe.

As Slate notes, the research, which was published this month in the Proceedings of CSCW, concludes that “mothers of young children post to Facebook far less often than they did before their child’s birth, and much of what they do post doesn’t refer to the child. Plus, the proportion of posts mentioning the baby drops off sharply after the first month, continuing to fall as the kid ages.”

“I think there’s a sense in the popular media that it’s just all babies, babies, babies,” says computer scientist Meredith Ringel Morris, the study’s author and the mother of two young children. “But, in fact, posting about the baby is only a relatively small portion of what mothers are doing.”

Another reason you may be seeing those baby photos in your feed so much? Morris says it’s because posts of babies tend to get more ‘likes’ which, even though Facebook is secretive about its algorithms, suggests that you’re seeing the photo more because of its popularity.

So why don’t you STFU, Chris Baker? I have to look at photos of duckface selfies, daily scriptures, spoilers for certain TV shows I’m currently watching via DVD, and memes featuring various Duck Dynasty characters, but a shot of my newborn wearing sunglasses and a Guns N’ Roses onesie offends your senses? By all means, hide my posts, unfriend me, whatever. But just don’t act like you’re the champion of Facebook when just as many of us are rolling our eyes over your deep thoughts and carefully edited selfies.

Article Posted 3 years Ago

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