Life throws you curveballs. I don’t talk about personal things, truly personal things too often because people who are reading what I am writing don’t seem to get that I am a private person. They incorrectly perceive me as a public person, and I’m not. Just because I am a writer and I write a blog does not make me some bizarre sort of celebrity or public persona.
In December, I shared a media report from main stream media on my blog’s Facebook page. A news story link from a television station. No commentary.
Because it is social media, the comments started. I drew the line when someone started posting comments that inferred I was a racist because I posted a link to the news story that several news media outlets reported on. I might be many things, but a racist I am not and I both found offense and took offense to that.
Added to that mix was a woman whom I do not know personally, but know of. We don’t exactly travel in the same social circles. Literally, she is someone local-ish I see around social media. She’s one of those people I would not choose as a friend in real life because she is a perennial pot stirrer.
She chose to be a pot stirrer in this situation and tried to add fuel to the fire. I did ask her if she had nothing better to do and then I decided I wasn’t going to engage further with these people. What people don’t understand about social media is that is completely acceptable – I was choosing NOT to engage further pretty much because I found it all distasteful .
When I decided I had had enough I removed the pot stirrer (blocked them too) and I think one other person. And then I just decided to delete the post I had initially posted. I chose to delete the post because although all I did was share a news link, it was a controversial enough topic that I was going to spend my life babysitting the post and I didn’t care to do that. I didn’t announce that I was removing people or removing the post I just did it and moved on. There is enough ugly going on in this world as it is.
A lot of people who are admins and/or social media page owners/creators will make a big deal about every person they remove. They will even create a post to that effect. I know because after a fashion in the past, I have done that.
However, what I have learned is that just opens the door to other not positive behaviors, so I have tried to make a conscious decision to behave differently. You can’t control the actions of others you can only do your best to control your own actions.
I don’t pretend to be a perfect person. I don’t pretend I’ve led a 100% perfect life. I am human I make mistakes. We all make mistakes. It’s how we learn from them that sets us apart from one and other.
But it’s like people truly don’t understand that just like there are parameters and boundaries in the real world, there are parameters and boundaries of good taste, bad taste, and what’s acceptable and what’s just wrong also on social media. And I have seen this same situation repeat over and over and over.
So I don’t give this whole deleting a post a second thought and like everyone else, my family and I got into the Christmas season and I was busy. (There were 16 of us this year for Christmas dinner alone, and that’s a lot to prepare for!)
We had family in from out of town, friends in from out of town, and so on and so forth. So although I was on social media it wasn’t like I was exactly checking everything. Or cared to. I love Christmas and I love to experience it in the moment which means you have to be present with people.
Sometime right before Christmas the pot stirrer I removed posted in a Facebook group I belong to. The post was about me. Who was the Chester County Ramblings Blogger and how I was an awful person. People piled on right behind her with comments. Because I had blocked her, even though we were in the same group I was spared knowing about all of this at first.
But as in all things social media, I learned of what was going on because on the same thread someone else I know became a target. People started sending me screenshots.
Sadly, this should have been dealt with but the person who administers the page was really sick. However, since the page is populated by adults some folks basically started to say what was happening wasn’t right.
Then along came what could only be described as a troll. This person (who seemed to be a woman and who had a profile that said they had been on Facebook since 2010 and currently reside in Phoenixville) started posting nasty and malicious things about me and also about a second woman who had the misfortune of also being discussed. At this point there was more than comments on the original post digging at me, there were a few posts. It was kind of crazy.
I should not have been surprised as it was yet another example of the kind of the pack mentality behavior and mob mentality behavior which seems to take people over on social media at times.
People know what is going on is wrong, yet none of them will be a grown-up and say “stop”. A lot of reasons why is when you say “stop” you then become a target. The other woman who was targeted along with me had been the subject of a social media beat down prior to this incident. And I had actually been someone at that time who said I thought it was wrong and it needed to stop.
So is that how we became connected in this craziness? I honestly don’t know. I think that a lot of times people just consider me an easy target because I am a blogger. It doesn’t matter if I cover a lot of the same territory that traditional media covers, where they wouldn’t ever go after an actual reporter they seem to think they can go after me.
And where going after me is bad enough, the minute you come near my family, I am done. And that’s what was done to myself and this other woman. I will also note and she will back me up we don’t know each other that well. We were starting to get to know each other prior to where she lives now, and it’s just one of those things where we lost touch for a while and then reconnected. Life happens, yes?
So is this woman my bestie? No but I think she’s a good person and I like her. She didn’t deserve this and neither did I.
Now comes the personal stuff for me that I am almost loathe to share because it’s about something I love very much. One of my pets.
While a lot of this stuff was happening, my young dog ruptured a disc in their back. There was no overt reason or fall, everything changed literally in a matter of minutes.
In a matter of minutes the dog was dragging a rear leg. We went immediately to the vet and within two hours they were completely paralyzed in the rear.
So while some freak is posting information about the children and husband of this woman I know, essentially doing the same with regard to me, I was experiencing the most horrible life and death situation. Was I going to lose my dog? Were they going to be able to have surgery?
You know, the stuff in life that matters. Not bullshit (yes, bullshit) adult on adult bullying, doxxing, and cyber stalking.
I am tired of living the modern version of the Salem freaking witch trials. Just because I write and have strong opinions it doesn’t mean I am the evil other. Just because I write and have strong opinions it doesn’t make me public enemy number one. Just because you don’t happen to agree with the thought process and position of anyone it does not give you the right to attack like that.
And I will also say it outright that I do not respect the social media pot stirrers in this world. These are people that are not adding anything valuable to a conversation or striving to better their community, they are just stirring the pot.
I mean come on? Are we in middle school still? It sort of feels that way.
Back to things that matter.
My dog survived a very serious and invasive surgery at Hope Veterinary Hospital, complete with a back full of vicious looking metal staples. But St. Francis was looking out and the dog is alive. It will be a long road to recovery and at this point we hope the dog will walk again, but we don’t know. We will love them either way.
To the keyboard cowboys out there, take a moment. Hit the pause button. Walk away. Doxxing, cyber bullying, cyber stalking, cyber harassing and so on are actually cybercrime. People can and do seek out law enforcement when these things happen.
People, live your best life. Not everyone you meet in this world is going to like you, nor are you going to like everyone you meet. Not everyone you meet in this world is going to share your opinions and perspectives, and that’s OK. What’s NOT OK is punishing and persecuting people because you disagree with them or because you don’t understand them or know them and perhaps they don’t want to get to know you. It happens.
And if you are someone’s friend, be their friend. Don’t be opportunistic. Friends are people you care about and are loyal to. You do not just pop into their life when you need or want something. I have seen too much of that lately, too. It’s damn disappointing.
Don’t just talk about manners and family values, actually have them. Life is real. Life is not a Real Housewives show on Bravo that we watch for distraction.
Thanks for stopping by.
Thanks Carla, all true stuff…..sadly I have found in life that “those people” have a really crappy life, or just a mean angry streak and they are miserable with themselves, so they want everyone else to wallow in that misery. However, many of us know that life is AMAZING and friendship (real friendship) is life affirming and inspiring and just wonderful. So, we can count our blessings that we have a fuller, better, happier life than “those people” and try to just turn off the noise that they insist on blasting to the universe. My life is quiet, peaceful, my dogs and family and friends are forever at my side or have my back. The same for you…love to poochie for a quick recovery!
A lot of reasons why is when you say “stop” you then become a target. Ugh yes. This is such a problem and why better moderators for social media are needed. It happens on so many platforms, this harassment, and it’s awful and it has to stop. Blocking people and focusing on what is important as you did here is the best advice. Sending good thoughts to you and your dog.
I’m with you, Carla. One reply is enough and go on with your wonderful life. This person wants your reaction so she can drivel in it. They get off on making your blood pressure rise so it can give fuel for their own dysfunctions. Love your family, your dog, your garden. We love your courage to bring issues forward and otherwise may not know of them. Stay at the helm, steady and strong.
Blessings and Peace for a New Year
I appreciate your honesty and positive intelligence. Seems that keeping our armour on and arming oneself with positive strength of heart and mind works well. Thanks.