I’m a member of a few on line parenting communities and it never fails, drama is rampant, feelings are hurt and the “I’m leaving” posts start. Here is a funny (but serious) look at on-line communities.
Someone posts an opinion and someone else gets all offended. Some I’ve heard: Baby Einstein videos cause Autism – the vaccine debate – circumcision – CIO – breastfeeding vs. formula feeding – you get the point. The thing is, why get offended? You say it’s because they are rude or whatever – but ultimately you have control over what offends you. Some random person hundreds of miles away that you’ll probably never meet in person should never have the ability to offend you. Every mom should be confident in their decisions so much that someone’s negative remark should roll off like water off a ducks back. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been guilty of this a time or two – but I can look back and make fun of myself after the fact. On the flip side, if someone is talking about how much they puffy heart BE, don’t jump on the thread opening your big, fat mouth and spout off “research” about the link to Autism – it’s not wanted/needed. It’s fine that you believe it, don’t buy them – but keep it to yourself.
“Goodbye” posts – These never fail to irritate the shit out of me. Mostly because the posters never really leave. They do it for attention, and it works. Stop feeding the monster people! It’s a paper thin “reason” to have a pity party. I’ve seen more than my fair share of these, and I’ve gotten snarky a time or two. If you’re serious about leaving, leave. Buh bye. They scream from drama – because someone (perhaps me) is bound to say something rude about how ridiculous the whole post is, then 10 people are going to jump to the OP’s defense – then someone gets offended (see above) and it continues to escalate. All very tiring, though occasionally amusing.
Trolls – These are people that join an on-line community for the express purpose to cause strife. They have very few posts, and always have a negative opinion. Usually my method with trolls is to ignore. If you don’t feed the trolls, they go away (I’m seriously wondering who came up with this name??). But, there are always one or two people that get offended (see above) and then it’s all about the drama. The thing people need to realize is, the trolls are probably 12 year old boys/girls with nothing better to do – and they are likely laughing their asses off at all the arguing.
Fake posters – There are actually people that make up kids, families and struggles for attention. This is the saddest (to me) of all the on line issues. You have to wonder at the mental status of the actual people. They go so far as to post other people’s pictures, make up severe illness (usually effecting their children) or even death. I get angry/sick/sad over these people. It’s always a bit of a jolt to realize you’ve been duped. And, I always wonder if there was any trace of truth in their persona. I’m not talking about people that say they weigh 120, when they really weigh 250 – I’m talking about making up a whole life that doesn’t exist.
Being Right – Some people would rather be strung up by their fingernails that admit they are wrong, or concede a point. They are so concerned about being right they lose any sense of compassion or understanding. In life, things are rarely black and white. Just because someone doesn’t agree with your opinion it doesn’t mean they are wrong – just different. Life experiences shape our views in life so unless you’ve lived the other persons life, you have no idea why they feel the way they do, and it’s not fair to speculate. Usually, when someone thinks someone else is wrong, name calling ensues (words like ignorant and such) and we’re back to being offended.
There are many, many great things about on-line communities – friendship, support, advice and multiple perspectives. I’ve met a lot of really wonderful women whom I know consider friends. We’ve become close and they mean more to me than I can possibly express. I’ve learned so much from people in all different walks of life, and learned a lot about myself.
Bottom line if you want to become a member – have thick skin, always think before you post, and if you start to get pissed, walk away! Oh, and remind yourself that motherhood is not a competition.