Social media has made it possible for parents to share every small detail of their kids' lives, inspiring Blair Koenig to create the blog "STFU, Parents" to poke fun at some of the worst oversharers. She and therapist Kimberley Blaine talk about the culture of parental TMI.
Parents, listen up: Your friends don’t need to know about every poop your son made in the potty or how nap time was ruined for the third day in a row by jackhammering outside the baby’s window.
So says Blair Koenig, the 30-year-old childless New York writer who recently revealed herself as the author of the snarky STFU, Parents blog. The site’s tagline reads: “You used to be fun. Now you have a baby.”
The blog, which she started in 2009, takes down parents for the ridiculous things they overshare online about their kids. Koenig has said she’s not attacking individual parents and views the blog as a humorous site, not a place for hardcore criticism.
Appearing on TODAY, Koenig insisted she isn’t bothered by all the oversharing.
“I think it’s an interesting cultural phenomenon, and when I saw nobody else was talking about it, I decided that I would just go ahead and take the lead,” Koenig told TODAY’s Willie Geist. “It’s not really an obsession so much as just an interest in how parents are using social media.”
Koenig believes oversharing is partly due to the newness of online platforms like Twitter and Facebook, and because parents just don’t want to hold back on sharing the scintillating news about baby vomit or bragging about their kids’ sophisticated palates.
“People don’t want to edit themselves,” she said. “I think some people have actually consciously decided, ‘I’m not going to worry about it.’”
But, there is such a thing as too much information, she says.
“Just try to be considerate of your child, of yourself, your friends,” Koenig said. “Be aware of the fact that it’s not just about you. It’s not just about how adorable your child is or something he did that might have been very disgusting that you had to deal with.
“Sometimes your friends don’t need to know all that information and they’re better off for it,” she said.
Koenig stayed anonymous for three years as her blog grew to attract 1.5 million views a month. But that ended last week and she identified herself to the New York Post and announced her next project: “The STFU, Parents Book: The Jaw-Dropping Self-Indulgent, and Occasionally Rage-Inducing World of Parent Overshare,” which is due out in April.
Koenig told the paper that not only does she love children but they are a part of her “near-future.” That led Geist, a parent of two who believes parents do overshare, to ask her what she’ll do when her baby smiles for the first time.
“I am a relatively private person when it comes to sharing already on social media,” she said. “You can post that first picture of your child’s smile. I think that’s great. If your child has a milestone or even if she does something cute, talk about it, but try to edit yourself when it comes to the oversharing.
“There’s a difference between sharing and oversharing,” she said.
Kimberly Clayton, a therapist and TV webseries host who appeared on TODAY alongside Koenig, said all people need to share.
“We all have that need to feel heard, to feel valued, and when we’re sharing something we’re passionate about, which are our children, it opens a dialog about what our day is like as a parent, and parenting isn’t easy,” she said.
But Clayton noted that parents have different guidelines for what’s OK to share about their little ones.
“Some of us have stronger boundaries and we’re not willing to share certain descriptive pictures of our families or our children,” she said. “It could haunt them in the future.”
While the blog and Koenig herself have come under scrutiny, readers of Today Moms seems to love it. In an online poll, 88 percent found the blog funny, while 12 called it mean-spirited.
Some of the people who think her blog is too harsh may be oversharers themselves, Koenig said, or perhaps they haven’t really checked it out.
“I know it’s not for everybody,” Koenig says. “Most of the time the reception is very positive.”
She receives many emails from parents, Koenig says, adding: “Most people say, ‘I’m a parent myself and I don’t want to know my friend’s child pooped in the potty.’”
What's the most outrageous thing you've seen overshared on Facebook or Twitter? Tell us on Facebook.