Single, in a relationship, engaged, married and now, expecting a baby?
Facebook is now encouraging people to share that next big life event -- pregnancy -- by adding "expecting a baby" as an option on timelines.
"Life Events are easy and expressive ways to mark significant moments in your life such as getting married, buying a house or traveling to new places. If you choose to, you can now share that you are expecting a baby with your friends on Facebook," Matthew Dierker wrote on behalf of the company on a Facebook news page.
But whether updating 500 of one's closest friends about a pregnancy over Facebook is akin to looping them in on other life events, such as moving to a new city, remains up for debate.
Julie Ryans Evans, a blogger for The Stir expressed excitement over the new option noting the option is a nice nod to parenthood, especially after the social networking's site thorny history of removing breastfeeding photos. However, she also argues that it might serve as fodder for "child-haters" to mock (perhaps encouraging some to take to the new unbaby.me app, which allows users to replace images of babies with cats and other "awesome stuff").
The Atlantic Wire raises more serious questions about the new option, though, pointing out ways in which it could be problematic or even heartbreaking for mothers who announce their pregnancies so publicly and end up suffering miscarriages.
"On the spectrum of touchy emotional moments, a miscarriage ranks pretty high. If you toggle the "Expected: Child" option, imagine how difficult it is to deal with that loss in public," Rebecca Greenfield wrote.
Greenfield goes on to cite a posting from an online community forum, in which a woman noted how difficult it was to receive messages inquiring about her pregnancy on Facebook after she'd lost her baby.
Blogger Ryan Kim argues that the move comes across as a desperate attempt for Facebook to make parents the target of advertisers. However, Tech Crunch notes Facebook doesn't yet have plans to target parents based on the new feature, though it was exploring the option.
Ad targeting or not, SFGate blogger Amy Graff was quick to point out some other less obvious pitfalls to the new feature, such as whether users are really ready to share the news with everyone. For example, there might be a co-worker or boss a user purposefully hasn't told yet (and who she potentially forgot she was friends with).
And then there will be those people who might have liked to hear the news in a more personal way, such as over the phone or in person.
As Graff asked, "How does Aunt Judy feel when she receives word through your news feed that’s read by 544 people?"