We had two kind of interesting things happen this week via Facebook…I say “kind of” because that’s what exactly what I mean. Below, a brief description…
Tom and I follow a blog called Momastery (www.momastery.com) which is run by a woman named Glennon Melton. More than merely witty posts, it is a movement that includes clothing and worldwide good deeds. Glennon has been developing her site for 3-ish years and she is incredibly honest, creative, and funny. She has roughly 26,000 followers. (Lovingly referred to as Monkees). In recent months, her blog site has gained tremendous popularity, and Glennon has traveled to New York to meet with “people” about television/book writing/etc. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that, in some respects, I admire where she is on her journey and her ability to write.
Glennon recently published a post about the Trayvon Martin case which was picked up by Huffington Post. In her post she shares her honest thoughts and opinions about prejudice and racism. This is what blogging is about, essentially sharing your insight. Tom and I began talking about this post and how we are beginning to feel like the writing Glennon has been doing since she’s become so popular has been flavored with arrogance. As if her opinion carries more weight, and she is well aware of it. Tom posted an (admittedly fairly strong) comment on Momastery’s facebook page. This ended up creating quite a tongue lashing for him by some of the Monkees. As I was reading this discussion, I became really scared by what I saw. It appeared as though a number of people think Glennon can do no wrong, or say no wrong, essentially she is above questioning. I began to wonder if I was just jealous, or if it was truly nuts that these people were so defensive about his comment. I then began to wonder, if one developed a large following, would that change who you were? Would it change the attitude and essence of your writing? Could this be what is happening within Momastery…as a result of some further back and forth, I can say we’ve moved on from Momastery. I know Glennon and her Monkees can ‘do hard things’ in a very capable manner without us. It also taught me one very important lesson…write what you want for the pure enjoyment it gives you, and not to please others because there will always be a critic (or 2 or 2000).
So, the second interesting thing happened Saturday night. Tom and Maddux went to a boyscout “lock in” at the local community center while I hosted a pajama/pizza/pedi…but NOT sleepover party for Mia’s 7th birthday. The girls left around 9 p.m., I was in the middle of cleaning up when I get a frantic call on my cell phone from my friend Laurie in Wisconsin. Laurie is wondering what the heck is going on and whether or not I am okay because of a picture and post Tom put on his FB page. As I am beginning to tell her there’s nothing wrong, my home phone rings and it is a local friend wondering why we didn’t come to her house if we needed shelter, for pete’s sake! On the heels of that call, I get a text from my son (who is 1,000-ish miles away at college and gave up FB for Lent)…”Is something going on at home?” So I reply to him and then jump on FB to find out what the deal is and then to type a response so the phone doesn’t continue to ring and the cops don’t show up at the door or something. This was my husband’s idea of an early April Fool’s prank. Tom posted some very general statements that let the minds of others generate their own impressions. (By the way, I learned my son was NOT breaking his Lenten penitence, his friend (from another college in our home state) gave him the heads up because he saw Tom’s post on FB).
Facebook is (sometimes) a great thing. It allows us to connect with loved ones far away (I just became an aunt again this weekend and was able to see my new niece via pictures posted on FB. My brother lives many states away, so unfortunately this will have to suffice for a while). Facebook is helpful to find birth parents, criminals, and to stay in touch with friends/family via quick, oftentimes comical banter. On the other hand, with this technology comes inference. By that I mean we infer what we read and sometimes the things we write get taken the wrong way, creating unnecessary problems. We also become an open book. It can become a very narcissistic endeavor. I learned, while watching a 2009 documentary about Facebook (called The Facebook Obsession), everything we do, post, say, log, “like”…gets logged, saved and used as a very descriptive profile of each user that FB then markets to advertisers. As a result of what I’ve seen this past week, I have a new-found respect for this social media site, realizing what we say gets tracked, gets shared with the world, and creates an impression on others that can be very hard to overcome.