Facebook Behaviour: To err is human but not on Facebook.

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Facebook has interwoven itself  into many of our lives in that it is a daily integrated routine, like brushing teeth or making the school lunches. On waking  it may possibly be one of the first things you now do, as you log in to check your Facebook page. I know I do. Logging onto my business page Easy Peasy Kids to check if everything is running smoothly (no nastiness against comments or people ). I post quite regularly; funny things the children say, tidbits of my day the good and the not so good, pictures with original quotes, insights into why children behave they do, my laundry pile and floordrobe.

The page has great interaction with comments and a lovely community of parents, teachers, child care workers and a following of mothers who are very supportive of each other 99.9999999% of the time.  In three years I’ve only had to block one person. I’ve lost followers and some even take the time to message or email me to let me know at length why they are disliking my page or why they hate my guts. Initially these emails were quite upsetting. Now they are skimmed through just in case they are offering some useful critique or a different point of view. They normally don’t so in the bin they go. I’m happy to hear opinions and criticism, it is important to me in order to try to understand all types of behaviours and the more interaction received the more I learn. Abuse is not an opinion. I aim to be a bigger picture thinker, the I’m not wearing your shoes or living your life type of person; working with behaviour it is part of who I’ve become. Easy come, easy go. Knowing that running a Facebook page it is impossible to keep everyone happy.

So understanding it is way beyond my control to please all, I’ve toughened up over the years. Many of my friends who blog manage a Facebook page. There are humans on the other side of the page you are following and interacting with. Some pages are masterminded by outside social media experts but not all.  There are Facebook pages that are purely business and after increasing likes and sales. Bloggers have Facebook pages to promote their writing and their niche. There are all types of Facebook pages. My updates are by me, if any team members post they sign off in their name. I am human and I make mistakes. They are human. They make mistakes.

To err is human but not on Facebook.

As a child behaviour consultant working with children and teenagers some of my teachings in school are on the subject of social media, the do’s and the don’ts. Facebook, Snapchat, About me ,Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and so on. Martine my friend and work colleague from The Modern Parent  specialises in this area. Social media plays a huge part in the lives of teenagers and our roles as parents is to help them navigate through the good and the bad “Are you 120% that your words are ok to have on display on a giant billboard? Are your words going to cause hurt? Are your words ok to be read by everyone? If in any doubt don’t post.

There are other sites where you can go and vent and say exactly how you feel. You choose to go there and use that as your outlet. You choose to go there and read.  Social media sites are meant to be social. They are open to billions of people. I comprehend there will be differences in opinions and criticism but to come down on someone like a ton of bricks and nasty name calling over a spelling mistake in a quote or a post update that is quite scary. What chance do our teens have when they see us rip into someone over something so small? On the scale of things in our lives is this what tips us over and makes us so angry that we explode with hate? How about a comment  like this “Hey there’s a mistake in your post” instead of “Hey you stupid B*tch you suck, your quotes suck, learn to spell you f8cking mole”.

Take a breath, does that spelling error ruin your whole day? Or is this your reaction due to a bad day? Did the page owner accidentally post the wrong quote as they had little sleep because her children were throwing up all night? Who knows? Let’s just rip into them anyway. Who cares about the bigger picture? Who cares about the page owner being human and having feelings?

Facebook pages are run by people, human people like you and like me. I dislike confrontation and detest nastiness. There are ways of getting a point across without vindictiveness and malice. It frightens me that people are so quick to point out a mistake with a defamatory comment. We all make mistakes. No one is perfect. So much anger and intense hate in a second, is this a reflection of what the real world is turning into or purely behind the screen angst and bravado?

Facebook page owners also have to think carefully about what they post. When we share parts of our lives we have to be consistent in our values and what we say. Saying you believe in kindness then being unkind about others, well your readers will see that. We have to open and clear when we write a sponsored post in that we declare I’ve been paid to write this. Sharing photos and quotes have an unwritten etiquette that you share from the page you found it from  or give credit back to the source. I’ve learnt that not every business knows this. Shaming on social media probably says more about the person using this tactic than the business. We have to be able to admit our mistakes apologise and move on.

This post talking about death caused my page to launch into a fight in the comments section on my Facebook page. As a professional I had to make a public apology if it had caused distress and and a warning. This is the reason I check my page in the morning, I’m hoping fingers crossed that all is calm, since my latest update or post.

I worry that our children see how we behave on social media (They see a lot more than we think they do). I’m concerned at the quickness of horrible comments on an online social media site moving into the real world. Imagine talking over a spelling mistake to your child, friend or work colleague the same way you do on Facebook. Take a few seconds before hitting that enter key. That error was a human error; possibly by a mum, perhaps with a lot on her plate, she’s vulnerable, she has feelings, she makes mistakes and she’s not perfect. Stop, breathe, eat some chocolate and there is always the dislike button.

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Nathalie Brown

Child Behaviour Consultant at Easy Peasy Kids
Child Behaviourist and researcher. Creator of "Less tantrums. More smiles". I look at the bigger picture and think outside the box when working with children and their behaviour. Their world is different. As adults we sometimes forget this. Happiness Creator in my spare time. Eater of chocolate and cake.

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Comments

  1. Love this post Nathalie. Sometimes I wonder what people are thinking on social media. Thank you for all that you do and share online.

  2. An illuminating post about the perils of social media. I don’t have Facebook but use Twitter and have recently started to blog. I haven’t encountered any nastiness personally, but have witnessed unkind or inappropriate comments to others.

    You are so right about our conduct as adults affecting and guiding our children’s. As a teacher of many years experience my mantra in (and out) of the classroom is: “If your comment isn’t nice, don’t say it”. Of course, constructive criticism is necessary and my rule for that is “Two positive things, followed by a negative one.”

    While we all know that nastiness is more of a reflection of the perpetrator rather than the recipient, it doesn’t make it any easier to cop it. You sound like you’re doing a pretty good job. :)

  3. All so true Nathalie. I read something yesterday… If you wouldn’t shout it across a crowded room don’t post it. Sometimes I wake up and think, oh dear, what did I tweet last night. Luckily my self-monitor is usually on auto.

  4. Very true that people are so quick to judge and be harsh about it when in an online environment :( Very well said, I hope it helps people to remember kindness and manners on Facebook x

  5. I agree wholeheartedly with this post Nathalie. Very well written!

    I feel VERY lucky that I haven’t yet received any nastiness on WF4K but I know it will happen one day. I too hate confrontation so I’m sure it will affect me.

    In regards to spelling errors on Facebook, I make them ALL the time. Not because I can’t spell but because I’m always rushing after my twins and trying to post a Facebook update at the same time. I really should try harder to revise my posts though.

  6. This is a great article Nat and brought up some points I had not even thought about, mainly regarding how our kids are learning from the way we interact with social media. I’ve been very hurt by comments and it is SCARY how open we are to the whole world these days via internet. Definitely points to take seriously. Thank you x

  7. Totally agree! Written words can have a far more powerful impact than a face to face conversation, my personal rule is not to say anything negative in writing unless you really, really mean it and have phrased it very, very nicely.

  8. I worry about social media so much and FB in particular when it comes to our children. I thought this was a really interesting read. Thanks Nathalie.

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