Monday, March 14, 2011

Social Media Has Made Me a Better Person

I've been wanting to take a couple minutes to write this post for several months, but seeing the "Take the Pledge" campaign by Elizabeth Flora Ross inspired me to finally do so. I  hear a lot about the "Mommy Wars" and the vicious ways that women attack each other online. I've seen it, and it makes me heartsick. In fact, I've been hearing stories of this from my IRL friends on discussion boards since before I knew the term, "Mommy Blogger." It's not necessarily a mommy problem, but there is something about parenting choices that seems to bring up some pretty strong reactions and (unfortunately) judgments in us. Add relative anonymity and it's been a recipe for disaster.

But I've found the anonymity has had the opposite effect on me. It's translated into me being nicer in real life, because I never know if the person who just pissed me off at the grocery store might be one of my online friends!

My experience of joining the online mom community has been awesome. Really — I'm in actual awe of the support, encouragement and humor. I've learned from you all, I've made friends that I can't wait to meet in real life, and my family is better for me having this connection and support. {despite the fact that they sometimes complain about me being on the computer again... balance is the key!}

Knowing I'm part of this bigger – often anonymous – community has given me a new kind of feeling connected to the world. Now, I'm very involved in my local community. I've lived here forEVER, I've been on boards, volunteered, I go to community events and frequent my local merchants. But this is different, because I'm interacting with people that I wouldn't necessarily meet on the street. I first noticed the change in me when some chick in an SUV cut me off on the freeway. My first reaction was to want to flip her off, but then a blog post I read flashed into my head. I thought, oh, maybe she's having a really  hard day and her kids are screaming and her checks are bouncing and the dog is sick etc etc. Instead of flipping her off, I took a breath and got over it. I wish I could do the same for my puppy who ate my shoes. I'm trying, but still not quite over that.
Please don't think I'm trying to portray myself as any kind of Pollyanna saint. I can snark with the best of them, and still do. But I've gotten so much from the online mom community, and I've seen the kind of loving support we can give each other, that it of course had to translate to my interactions in person.
I hope the "Take the Pledge" campaign works, because this is a really good thing we've got going here, and I for one don't want to see it mired in yuckiness. We're better than that!

1 comment:

  1. Heartsick is exactly how it makes me feel. I have not experienced it personally, but I see it regularly, and it makes me sad. We should be supporting each other, and in most cases we are. I have developed a wonderful support system online. But, the negativity and attacks effect all of us, even if they are not directed at us. Thank you for joining our community!