Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Netiquette of Personal News Announcements

I'm admittedly old fashioned, having been raised to believe in God, country, and thank you notes, not always in that order, but I've done my share of newfangled things like broadcasting major life events via social media as well - after having shared said events with close friends & family, that is. Blogging my pregnancy news or how I blurted out to a room full of family, co-workers & clergy that the Anonymous Husband is a good, um, rhymes with "pay" (less major, more humiliating) comes to mind.

Ahem.

That being said, there is a sort of personal milestone news that this traditional prissypants just can't get used to receiving via the internet. Many of you Invisible Internet Friends (like you, hello!) have had similar experiences with learning of a friend's major life events not from them but via social media, so I should have seen this coming.

But . . . but . . . recently I read of a friend's engagement via Facebook. Neither the medium nor the message should have been a surprise, nor am I nearly as close with said friend as we were in high school. But . . . but .  .

(Via Google Image)

It's not that I'm upset or even disappointed, exactly; rather, it's that the way of sharing the news left me feeling cold. Not that icily cool blonde isn't my natural state a la HRH Grace, Gwyneth, and whatever other regal Gs I'm forgetting, but I mean chilly in the distant sense. Maybe the way of sharing the news highlighted a distance in the friendship I hadn't acknowledged? What would I have preferred - a phone call? Handwritten note? Personalized carrier pigeon festooned with wedding white ribbons? The FB announcement is exactly what the 21st century would call for, and yet . . .

So while this traditional-in-one-sense / social media strumpet in another struggles to wrap her digital feelings around this sort of thing, I wonder - do I just need to get used to this, or do I keep up my dinosaur practice of telling this sort of news in person or over the phone?

Show of hands - anyone else get their digital panties in a wad over this type of social media sharing?

10 comments:

Erin said...

I don't like it, either...but I'm afraid we're going to have to get used to it. I mean, it would be hard to call or send a note to EVERYONE to let them know you're engaged. But even an e-mail is more personal, isn't it?

What gags me the most currently? People posting "I'm Pregnant!" statuses moments {ok, MAYBE not quite that soon} after they pee on a stick.

Sara said...

I think it depends on the person and the news. I had to have my husband think of who would be offended to learn of our expecting via Facebook and give all of those people a call. Otherwise they would have learned from a status post!

undomestic chica said...

I'm with Sara. I let the people who mattered to me (the ones I'm close to)find out I was pregnant in person or a phone call/email if face time wasn't possible. Everyone else found out from facebook.

IntlWomanofMystery said...

I completely understand your point of view. FB is insidious. I/We had to actively plan who to share our engagement news with and in what order to make sure the congratulations didn't pour forth from well-meaning friends before the important-but-distant crowd were told personally by us. And yet we still failed with several people. We tried to personally call everyone who deserved to hear from us before we told the local friends as a group. But, in the flush of "announcement" plans, I did manage to overlook a few old friends who I am not often in contact with but do mean a great deal to me. They also wrote kind notes to me on FB when they saw the news, but I immediately called them and apologized for them finding out that way. And I still feel bad about it!

So the short answer is that it's inevitable some people will find out important news via FB, no matter how hard you plan. But I suppose you have to make up for it by making them feel especially included later on. Because, as I'm learning, managing "big news" in your life really means managing other people's reactions!

Jennifer said...

I don't think I will ever get used to announcements like that via social media. I've even gotten a WEDDING INVITATION by invite on facebook. seriously! my favorite is finding out the news of my brothers actual marriage on facebook. You read right my own brother. (here's the story)

People will always stumble upon important information on-line, but it should never be a sole means of communication to tell EVERYONE.

Tiffany said...

The honest truth? You might not be in her inner circle anymore. Because she probably did share the news beforehand with close family and friends. No one keeps news like an engagement from their best friends they speak to/text with/gchat with everyday. I mean, how could you? You'd be bursting at the seams to tell someone your joyous news. She probably called her best friends and then went to FB. I don't see someone saying "Yes, I'll marry you" and then logging on. Just a thought.

When we decided to move to another continent, we made sure to tell our families first, our best friends & immediate neighbor-friends second & then FB for our general friends. I think this is common. With social media sites, it's just too easy to put it out there (or a mass email if one doesn't FB).

I'm sorry you were left feeling that way, but I would take it as a sign of your level of friendship more than anything. Of course, if you're asked to be a bridesmaid, then I guess she really is just digital light years ahead of you. ;)

MauraLessa said...

My very own brother informed me of his engagement via MASS TEXT MESSAGE. I gave him a little bit of a hard time about that, but my happiness for him won out.

I think we keep in touch with more people through facebook then we otherwise would in real life. That may make some people feel they have a greater connection than they otherwise would. I do prefer phone calls or handwritten notes, though, to text messages for big events.

Mrs. R said...

If I hear about something via FB vs. a personal phone call/note/visit, I would only assume that I am not a "close" friend. When I realize this it stings, but I get over it quickly and go back to stalking pics on FB. LOL!

Design Apprentice said...

No matter what social media platforms are out there, sometimes news is just best learned about in person. Wouldn't it seem impersonal if her fiance had proposed by asking her status to be changed to engaged on facebook instead of in person? I agree with your way of thinking and think that people should make the proper calls to those friends who matter before posting this on the world wide interweb. Or at the very least make a post facebook phone call to share the details.

THE Stephanie said...

I'm really not that old fashioned, but I still believe that major life changes should be spoken, not typed. Seems like a respect issue to me.

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