April 17, 2011

The Ugly of Social Networking

April 17, 2011


I will be the first to admit that I love social networking. Well, I use to love social networking. With social networking comes anonymity and thus you will find people who do and say things that probably if they were to see you on the street they would not do or say. Facebook has been a great tool for me to reconnect with old friends and keep up with new ones. I always enjoy seeing pictures of my friend’s children and connecting with moms who most of the time have gone through the same struggles as me. But let’s face it; Facebook has blurred the line between what I would call “real” friends and mere acquaintances.

While I have enjoyed Facebook I have also seen the negative effects of its existence first hand. For me the biggest pitfall of social networking of any kind including email and texting is that you cannot hear the tone of what someone says – this often leads to someone taking what you say the wrong way and thus feelings getting hurt and possibly someone becoming upset. Facebook has now become a tool for others to be meddlesome or just right out nosey. I am not throwing rocks here, because I do not mind to admit that I too have found myself wasting time meddling around checking out the recent pictures that my “friends” have posted. The most irritating thing for me is the things that people say! I mean seriously, would you say that if you were in that person’s presence! Or why on earth would you want to share that type of information about your spouse? Oh yeah, and those that make those ugly off the hand comments on someone else’s wall post because they know they can say it type it and there are no immediate consequence.

On Wednesday on a complete whelm I went to my twitter account and deactivated it. After pushing the deactivation button I felt a huge sigh of relief. See, I have recently been on the receiving end of internet bullying! Yes, you heard me correctly, internet bullying in the form of grown adult women harassing and bullying another adult woman. You may have thought this stuff only existed among teens, I did, but boy was I ever wrong!

I signed up for a twitter account about 2 years ago when I started following a popular mommy blogger and I wanted to keep up with the status of her ill son. I stumbled across her blog by accident in early 2009 when looking for lyrics to a song and have been reading ever since. She has a son close in age to my son and at the time he was in a battle for his life and I felt an immediate need to lift him up in prayer. He was on my daily prayer list for the longest time so I naturally wanted to keep up with his progress. Keeping up with the progress of Stellan led me inevitably coming back to read her other blog post – she has a knack for writing and I have almost always enjoyed what she has had to say. I have not always agreed with what she said, but none the less I remained an avid reader.

It was not until becoming a mother that I realized just how different so many of us are especially when it comes to our parenting styles. My parenting style is very different from many of my closest friends, but it is what works best for my family and apparently their parenting style works for them. That being said, I find it in no way my “duty” to comment to them on how they parent and vice versa. Jennifer McKinney or MckMama as most know her has been scrutinized relentlessly for her parenting style among other things. I was aware that the naysayers where out there, but I did not understand the magnitude of such naysayers until just two weeks ago.

MckMama had planned on making a pit stop in Knoxville and doing a quick photo shoot and my family was lucky enough to be able to grab up one of the spots! When our spot got booked I was so excited! For one, I get excited any time I can have my children’s picture taken by someone other than me and secondly I was excited to finally to get to meet someone whom I had read after for two years! Who wouldn’t be? It was about this time that I started actively using my twitter account and tweeted several times about my excitement surrounding our photo shoot and events to come. Almost immediately I started receiving ugly, nasty and plain right vulgar tweets! I am usually the last person who is left speechless, but honestly I was so stunned by the things that were being said, that I could in no way respond and the ones that I did attempt to respond to only added heat to the fire. Blocking the said people was finally what I decided to do.

In an effort to make a LONG story short I will tell you that the twitter followers took their nasty business elsewhere and started talking about me on a website that is devoted to talking “hate” and being nasty toward Jennifer MckKinney and her family. A concerned IRL friend told me about what was going on – I took a gander for myself and just could not believe what I was seeing. I first went to the website because I thought to myself “what on earth could these people be saying about me? I have never found myself that interesting and was surprised that someone else would take the time to (a) follow my tweets and to (b) discuss them on another blog. What really set me off was just that some of these people were saying things about me, but they were also saying things about my children! I mean come on!... who says things about people’s children!!? What kind of a person does things like this!?

Four days went by with me sitting back in total disbelief at all that was happening and me asking myself how in the world I got mixed up in this. I was in tears by the things that were being said and spend hours contemplating what to do next. Do I take down my blog? Do I give up social networking all together?

You know, there are a lot of people that I do not like – for instance, I do not like Joy Behar – I think she is, well, I will not tell you what I think she is. Seeing how I do not like her and quite honestly cannot stand her, the last thing I am going to do is find myself stalking her webpage and watching her television show. And I am certainly not going to waste my time seeing who is following her on twitter (does she even have a twitter account) and harassing them because they are so called “fans”. Would you?

Since that time a lot has happened starting with me getting banned from this website for “outing” a frequent commenter. Apparently, they do not want the world to know who they are. I am wondering if they were spreading good news and doing positive things with their website if they would use their real names. There are some actions that I am contemplating on taking, but for now I am just not sure.

In the end none of these people matter! How they respond to me does not matter.  The one things the really matters in this life is what we do with Christ!  So… I have deactivated my twitter account.  All that has been happening is in no way edifying toward the Lord and was only having a negative effect upon my life.  I have allowed myself to get way too wrapped up in the world of social networking and allowed it to take priority over other things.  With that being said I have now decided to take a hiatus from Facebook. Yep, you heard me – I’m leaving Facebook behind for a while. I will continue to blog because I love blogging, it’s an outlet for me and a way for me to capture beautiful memories with my children. I may occasionally post my blog post on Facebook, but my goal is to stay away completely for at least a month. So if you enjoy reading my blog you can click over to the right to “follow” and also and the bottom of the post you can click on “Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)” and be led through the process of subscribing to my blog. If you would like to contact me please do so via email or through a comment on my blog.

Much love!!

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