The other day, as I was waiting for the first photos of my grandbaby to show up on my Facebook, I thought about how differently we announce life events compared to just 10 years ago, when I was pregnant with my youngest daughter.
Before I went into the hospital, I had prepared a special list of email contacts who I wanted to get the news about Katie’s birth as soon as it happened. Back then, text messages weren’t quite as prevalent, Facebook didn’t exist and we didn’t own a laptop. So while I was in the hospital, my husband was able to log into my email and send out a bulk email to my pre-arranged list of Baby News people.
These days, I’ve seen people announce their pregnancy by posting photos on Facebook of their sonogram images. Just a few minutes before my son and daughter-in-law went into surgery for her pre-arranged C-section, they posted photos of them in their pre-op attire. And just a few hours after my grand-daughter Amaia was born, photos started showing up on Facebook (which was nice for me, since I had a cold and couldn’t get to the hospital those first two days).
Of course, there is also a downside to living in a social media age. I’ve seen several marriages implode in a very public and nasty way.
But when used responsibly, social media allows us to share important moments with friends and family who can be continents away. Images, videos and descriptions of graduations, marriages, births and anniversaries can be shared in real time.
No, it’s not the same as being there when it happens. But it’s one more tool that can be used to help keep us connected to those we love.