Facebook has interwoven itself into many of our lives in that it is a daily integrated routine, like brushing teeth or making the school lunches. On waking it may possibly be one of the first things you now do, as you log in to check your Facebook page. I know I do. Logging onto my business page Easy Peasy Kids to check if everything is running smoothly (no nastiness against comments or people ). I post quite regularly; funny things the children say, tidbits of my day the good and the not so good, pictures with original quotes, insights into why children behave they do, my laundry pile and floordrobe.
The page has great interaction with comments and a lovely community of parents, teachers, child care workers and a following of mothers who are very supportive of each other 99.9999999% of the time. In three years I’ve only had to block one person. I’ve lost followers and some even take the time to message or email me to let me know at length why they are disliking my page or why they hate my guts. Initially these emails were quite upsetting. Now they are skimmed through just in case they are offering some useful critique or a different point of view. They normally don’t so in the bin they go. I’m happy to hear opinions and criticism, it is important to me in order to try to understand all types of behaviours and the more interaction received the more I learn. Abuse is not an opinion. I aim to be a bigger picture thinker, the I’m not wearing your shoes or living your life type of person; working with behaviour it is part of who I’ve become. Easy come, easy go. Knowing that running a Facebook page it is impossible to keep everyone happy.
So understanding it is way beyond my control to please all, I’ve toughened up over the years. Many of my friends who blog manage a Facebook page. There are humans on the other side of the page you are following and interacting with. Some pages are masterminded by outside social media experts but not all. There are Facebook pages that are purely business and after increasing likes and sales. Bloggers have Facebook pages to promote their writing and their niche. There are all types of Facebook pages. My updates are by me, if any team members post they sign off in their name. I am human and I make mistakes. They are human. They make mistakes.
To err is human but not on Facebook.
As a child behaviour consultant working with children and teenagers some of my teachings in school are on the subject of social media, the do’s and the don’ts. Facebook, Snapchat, About me ,Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and so on. Martine my friend and work colleague from The Modern Parent specialises in this area. Social media plays a huge part in the lives of teenagers and our roles as parents is to help them navigate through the good and the bad “Are you 120% that your words are ok to have on display on a giant billboard? Are your words going to cause hurt? Are your words ok to be read by everyone? If in any doubt don’t post.
There are other sites where you can go and vent and say exactly how you feel. You choose to go there and use that as your outlet. You choose to go there and read. Social media sites are meant to be social. They are open to billions of people. I comprehend there will be differences in opinions and criticism but to come down on someone like a ton of bricks and nasty name calling over a spelling mistake in a quote or a post update that is quite scary. What chance do our teens have when they see us rip into someone over something so small? On the scale of things in our lives is this what tips us over and makes us so angry that we explode with hate? How about a comment like this “Hey there’s a mistake in your post” instead of “Hey you stupid B*tch you suck, your quotes suck, learn to spell you f8cking mole”.
Take a breath, does that spelling error ruin your whole day? Or is this your reaction due to a bad day? Did the page owner accidentally post the wrong quote as they had little sleep because her children were throwing up all night? Who knows? Let’s just rip into them anyway. Who cares about the bigger picture? Who cares about the page owner being human and having feelings?
Facebook pages are run by people, human people like you and like me. I dislike confrontation and detest nastiness. There are ways of getting a point across without vindictiveness and malice. It frightens me that people are so quick to point out a mistake with a defamatory comment. We all make mistakes. No one is perfect. So much anger and intense hate in a second, is this a reflection of what the real world is turning into or purely behind the screen angst and bravado?
Facebook page owners also have to think carefully about what they post. When we share parts of our lives we have to be consistent in our values and what we say. Saying you believe in kindness then being unkind about others, well your readers will see that. We have to open and clear when we write a sponsored post in that we declare I’ve been paid to write this. Sharing photos and quotes have an unwritten etiquette that you share from the page you found it from or give credit back to the source. I’ve learnt that not every business knows this. Shaming on social media probably says more about the person using this tactic than the business. We have to be able to admit our mistakes apologise and move on.
This post talking about death caused my page to launch into a fight in the comments section on my Facebook page. As a professional I had to make a public apology if it had caused distress and and a warning. This is the reason I check my page in the morning, I’m hoping fingers crossed that all is calm, since my latest update or post.
I worry that our children see how we behave on social media (They see a lot more than we think they do). I’m concerned at the quickness of horrible comments on an online social media site moving into the real world. Imagine talking over a spelling mistake to your child, friend or work colleague the same way you do on Facebook. Take a few seconds before hitting that enter key. That error was a human error; possibly by a mum, perhaps with a lot on her plate, she’s vulnerable, she has feelings, she makes mistakes and she’s not perfect. Stop, breathe, eat some chocolate and there is always the dislike button.