pictures. Cyber mommy cat fights. Detailed accounts of
changing a baby’s diaper on a table at Burger King.
Facebook news feeds are not for the faint of heart.
kinds of parental social media "overshares"
pushed Blair Koenig to write a blog, which turned into
her new book, "STFU, Parents: The Jaw-Dropping,
Self-Indulgent, and Occasionally Rage-Inducing World of
Parent Overshare." The "STFU" acronym in
the title is cyberspeak for, well "shut up"
said in the rudest possible terms, though Koenig, an
Atlanta native and University of Georgia graduate who
now lives in New York, insists the title is
think of myself as a good Southern girl," said
Koenig. "I try to be snarky without being totally
mean-spirited." To write the book, Koenig borrowed
heavily from her "STFU, Parents" blog, which
she started in 2009 after noticing her own Facebook news
feed becoming cluttered with even the most mundane
photos and stories about her friends’ children.
blog, which now attracts more than 1.5 million readers a
month, asks readers to submit the most egregious
overshares they see on Facebook, which Koenig separates
into categories, including "Woe is Mom"
(mothers who complain about being mothers), "Mommyjacking
(mothers who use friends’ unrelated status updates to
share news about their children) and, in Koenig’s
opinion, the most noxious of the group — Sanctimommies
(sanctimonious mothers). One submission has a father —
yes, there are Sanctidaddies, too — saying "Only
when you are a parent do you realize how life is worth
more with a child." It’s comments like this that
especially roil Koenig, who isn’t a parent herself.
She’s gotten some flak for not having kids from
parents who think she shouldn’t be writing on a topic
she doesn’t have first-hand knowledge of.
cow … she has NO KIDS, what makes her the expert of
what to say, or share?!" one commenter wrote on a
recent article about Koenig, who points out that she
doesn’t offer parenting advice or purport to know what
it’s like to be a parent.
should have to be something to have an opinion about
something," she said. "You don’t have to be
a film person to have an opinion about a movie. I’m
really not talking about parenting. I really am giving
suggestions, using examples on what I consider to be bad
form on social media, and that’s it."
said that for every negative comment she receives, she
gets twice as many positive ones, many from parents who
thank her for shining a spotlight on a growing Internet
AM a mother of two, and I hate parents that do
this," one mother wrote. "I friended you on
Facebook because I wanted to keep up with YOU. Not your
if the threat of oversharing on social media can create
such divisiveness online and even within the parenting
community, why do some parents post pictures of their
children on the toilet or hijack other peoples’ status
updates to talk about their kids?
Meyers, an associate professor at the Georgia State
University College of Communications whose research
focuses on women and the media, said women are given
conflicting messages about what it means to be a good
one hand, women are told that they need to be perfect
mothers and that they don’t live up to the ideal of a
perfect mom if they don’t share everything,"
they post too much, they’re told they’re oversharing
and they’re criticized for it. It’s a double-edged
sword." Koenig acknowledges there’s a larger
conversation about oversharing on social media — and
not just of the parental variety — to be had. She sees
the problem getting worse before it gets better — if
it ever does.
really do think we’re creating more narcissistic
generations," she said. "I think we have the
tools, and like monkeys, we’re still figuring out the
best way to make it work for us. The way it works for a
lot of people is that it gets them attention." But
for now, Koenig doesn’t have time to dwell on the
larger issues. She has a book to promote — and a
folder of poop pictures to go through.