Co-It-All: Is it rude not to follow my friend’s kid on instagram? Courtney Shea A weekly series in which our expert in all things everything solves life’s conundrums, big and small. Got a problem that could use a no-nonsense perspective? Tell it to the Co-It-All at firstname.lastname@example.org Dear Co-It-All, I recently got an invitation to follow my friends’ six-week-old baby on Instagram, and I’m wondering if it’s rude to say no. Parenting and social media practices: I’ve seen either one of these hot buttons turn civilized adult gatherings in to rock ‘em, sock ‘em wrestling matches. Put them together and the potential for drama is higher than Snoop Dog at a Bernie Sanders rally. You don’t mention if your desire not to follow is based on a political objection or simply because you’re sick of seeing endless photos of other people’s babies on social media. “Too many kid pics” almost always cracks the top ten in lists of the most obnoxious social media behavior, right up there with #hashtagoverkill and tiny women eating giant pizza slices. There is even a Facebook app that allows you to block your friends’ (or rather, your Friends’) baby photo posts. I don’t know anyone who has actually attempted to use it. Nor am I clear on how an algorithm can tell the difference between a baby and a bald dude. Still, the fact that such an app exists proves that you’re not alone in your irkedness. That said, your snap-happy parent pals are also in firm standing. According to a study by Gerber, four out of ten millennial age parents have created some sort of social media presence for their blessed arrival before the first birthday mark. Another seven percent by age two. What is this world coming to, you may be thinking, as you shake your fists towards the heavens and consider the logistics of building an arc. Before you do, though, consider that your friends’ behavior may not be as eye-roll worthy as you might assume. I have two close friends who gave their baby his own Instagram account precisely because they don’t want to be “those people” (meaning those people that everyone rolls their eyes about when they’re not around). A dedicated account for your baby/infant/kid means that friends and family can opt in to an endless stream of sleep photos and cute hat photos and photos of baby stuffed inside a cabbage. It is a separate (and private) space for parents to let it all out, while maintaining a more balanced identity on their regular Insta feed. Also, while this whole set up obviously ruffles your feathers, keep in mind that there are plenty of people (grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends who live far away), who are thrilled by it. And that annoying you probably isn’t your friends’ primary objective. Reality check: Annoying social media behavior is sort of the air we breath these days, but I bet you haven’t un-followed your cousin who posts gym selfies, or your high school friend who posts daily photos of the salad she had for lunch. Granted, she probably doesn’t have a separate account for her salads, but I feel like the separate account thing might be a bit of an emotional smoke screen. I wonder if maybe you feel specifically annoyed by the baby account because it represents a change in your friends. One day they were people who wanted to dance until 2 am and then spend hours dissecting last night’s minutiae over brunch. And now—bing bang boom—their two favourite topics are poop and sleep and which filter best highlights their adorable poop sleeper. Be patient. It will pass. In the mean time, I don’t think it’s rude not to follow the baby account, so long as you show interest in your friends’ majorly huge life moment in other ways. Maybe you bring over a nice book the next time you visit, or ask for an update on Little X when you’re chatting on the phone. In my experience, adult friendship is often a matter of embracing the good, ignoring the bad and pretending that other people’s children are a lot more interesting than they are, whether you see them on social media or not.