I feel compelled today to write a quick post about bullying. I am not talking about schoolyards or teenagers, I am talking about mothers.
In the past couple weeks I have seen a few harmless Facebook posts, by a mother, turn into a terrible, unkind, bashing event by other mothers.
So I started to wonder, why?
1. Facebook, and social media in general gives the anonymity that seems to make people feel like what they say will not really be taken as themself. To think you can say something, that you wouldn’t say to a friend in real life, is probably not the best thing to say.
2. Now think about it, do you say things in an email, text or facebook message that you would not say in real life? I know I have been more bold when I am not face to face with someone. People have even been known to break up with another person electronically. You don’t have to look at the face of the person whom you are hurting, but that doesn’t make it okay.
3. Different people, of different walks of life, become ‘friends’ or fans of a mutual page, when they really have entirely different beliefs. Likely, you wouldn’t be friends with all the other fans of a business page in real life, because you have different values, beliefs and ideas. This doesn’t make one person ‘right’ and the other ‘wrong’, we are all different. The key is to be respectful of other people.
4. Sometimes statements are taken the wrong way. Tone is not well defined with a keyboard and what you may mean as haha funny, someone takes as a real insult.
So what can we do, as business owners?
1. Be careful which ‘can of worms’ you open. Certain topics are known to cause debate. In my businesses’ niche, these would be things like circumcision, vaccinations and feeding options. Be prepared to have people really upset and arguments to ensue. This is not always a bad thing, we know that conversation brings fans to business pages and nothing stirs conversation like controversy. But be careful.
2. Be sure that you, as the page owner, are not being offensive or unkind. Honestly, I think that my personal beliefs should not be confused with my business. You may gain fans who believe the same things you do, but you may also loose fans and customers. Set an example to your fans, you are setting the tone for your businesses’ community.
3. If you choose to discuss a sensitive topic I urge you to encourage fans to ‘play nice’. ‘Mommy guilt’ is something we all suffer from, and we don’t need anymore piled on to us. Whether you breast or bottle feed, cloth diaper, or use disposables, vaccinate or don’t vaccinate, you are the perfect mother for your child. I hope you will pass this on to your fans.
4. Be ready to delete comments. Some people are just plain rude. A certain business owner I know recently posted how thrilled that her 14 month old was finally walking. She then followed it with ‘what has your child learned lately?’. This is a great post, and one I often use myself. The terrible part is what followed. Most comments were about their baby learning to crawl, or talk or go to preschool for the first time. But unfortunately there was more than one comment stating ‘Wow, that is so late, my child was running by 10 months’. Luckily the business owner had tough skin and luckily there was not something underlying in that woman’s life. Maybe her child had Downs Syndrome or Autism. The cruel commenters did not know, all they knew was that they would try to make themselves feel good, by putting her down. Honestly, I don’t have a problem deleting these comments. And believe me, I don’t delete comments very often.
As mothers, we need to set examples for our children. Kindness should begin with us. Choose your keystrokes carefully.
So, I want to know, have you been a victim of virtual bullying? How do you prevent unkind comments on your page?