Someone recently posted a disparaging comment about me on social media. While they didn’t tag me in the post, it was obvious they were talking about me.
I guess what really gets me about it is that this person doesn’t really even know me. Because if they did know me, they clearly wouldn’t be writing negative things about me.
To me, the comment was really editorializing and didn’t need to be said. Share your link and leave it at that. Don’t make a negative comment about other people involved in the project.
To be honest, I was not aware that the project would include other people. But I honestly have no problem with it. It doesn’t bother me. What does bother me, however, is when the other person takes to social media to express their displeasure in being included in a project with me.
When it comes to many of the RA Facebook groups that have sprung up, I’m kind of a lurker. I watch from afar and rarely comment unless someone has a question that I can answer intelligently.
To my mind, most of the conversations that go on in these groups aren’t productive, at best, and at worst, they are downright toxic.
I watch as many people say they are leaving the group for those reasons. And the response they get is basically good riddance, don’t let the door hit you on the way out, can’t you just leave and not announce your departure?
One thing that has worried me about the RA community is that there are times when there are fissures. When people don’t support each other, or it becomes a competition of who has it worse.
For someone who has RA to varying degrees, sometimes I don’t feel sick enough to be part of the conversation. And I hate saying that, I really do. But I know that I get much more feedback on my negative blog posts than my positive ones. And that’s a function of the mentality of this community.
Don’t get me wrong. I love to be supported, but while I like to mourn the losses, I also love celebrating the successes. And I don’t like to do it with one eye open, waiting for a Negative Nancy to call me out.
To be clear, with small exceptions, I am incredibly grateful for this community. For the most part it is supportive and encouraging. But there are pockets of it that are just the opposite.
This community is not so big that a comment like the one made about me would stay hidden for very long. I just happened to find it on my own first as opposed to someone else telling me about it.
The main reason I blog is not for followers or kudos, although those are definitely wonderful, bonus aspects of blogging, but rather to advocate for others in similar situations, and to use my story for good.
I don’t think badmouthing people on social media is really the answer or good for a community that already finds itself on tenuous ground.
I’m not saying there can’t be disagreements or differences in opinion. However, we have to ask ourselves whether these interactions are productive and move the community forward.
That’s my main reason for sharing this story. It’s not to call a specific person out as much as it is about pointing out and taking a serious look at this community and acknowledging the aspects of it that we could improve on.
After all, aren’t we all in this together?