I’m a member of quite a few Facebook groups at this stage – some for my blog, some for business, some for different interests and also support groups for my Carotid Artery Dissection.
Facebook groups can be a wonderful way to connect, find support, have fun, but they can also be a big drain on your time and energy. I have been thinking of cutting back or leaving some groups I am in because it can all become like a constant white noise at times.
So here is how I have divided up my experience of Facebook groups so far. There are the good, the bad and the ugly!
First of all, the good side of Facebook groups.
Why does anyone join a group in the first place? It’s to get something. As I said, it can just be a connection or a way to ‘meet’ people of similar mindset. I joined two Carotid Artery Dissection groups which I mentioned in previous posts. I can honestly say that those groups got me through one of the worst periods of my life. I was experiencing a very unusual condition with a myriad of debilitating symptoms that were poorly understood by the medical profession or by anyone around me. The relief at finding other people going through the same thing was immense and although I don’t check in as often as I used to, I still make a point of helping others. I like to pass on some of the kindness that was shown to me – even down to a member of the group calling me from the States when I first joined. This was such a lovely thing to do and to be able to talk to someone directly helped me so much. The atmosphere in the groups is gentle and non-judgmental and supportive and people offer encouragement and advice in such a nice manner.
I also joined a group some time back called Bite the Biscuit. This is a business group but with a little difference in that it’s centered around those who have a creative business. You could be an artist or a writer or just someone like me who crafts and creates, and tries to make money from it.
This group is also a wonderful supportive space, where creativity and difference is celebrated. I felt right at home there from the start and the positivity is what keeps me there.
Next up, what I see as the bad side of groups.
Like I said, being in a lot of groups can take up time and mental space that could be better spent. It’s partly that pressure to check notifications and respond to things. Or join in online activities or events that require your presence at a certain time. Sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day and it can add to stress. You can feel almost guilty at not being able to constantly participate, or you can feel like perhaps you are missing out on some vital contact that might lead to a business order.
There is likewise the issue of balance within the groups. As in life, groups are populated with all kinds of different personalities and within business groups especially, you come across so many lovely supportive people. Unfortunately the converse is also true. You get so many people joining who want to incessantly promote their own business or agenda without ever offering a reciprocal support to others. This is something that irritates me immensely. The benefits of mutual support are huge. You make contacts and connect with people and are then happy to recommend them to others. You can engage with a larger group on social media and have the bonus of your own updates being more visible. Not only that, but you can make friends for life.
One example of this self-serving persona in groups is business or blog threads which are designed to help everyone with their social media exposure. So you post a link to your Facebook or Instagram or any other platform and then happily follow away all the other posters in the thread. Only to discover that half haven’t bothered following back or else followed and promptly unfollowed. The arrogance and selfishness of this never ceases to amaze me!
Finally I’d like to take a look at the ugly side of Facebook groups.
This is probably the one most relevant to all different kinds of group. What I’m talking about here is the trolling and judgement and negativity that I have seen again and again. It’s usually only a small minority of people who engage in this kind of behaviour but they can turn the atmosphere sour in record time. I have seen this many times in lots of different groups and it’s quite incredible how people can either be oblivious to the feelings of others , or even worse, delight in upsetting people and posting offensive opinions.
Also, there are the people who join certain groups just to find out what other businesses are doing. They have no interest in supporting others and are, in fact, quite happy to copy ideas.
I think the key to stopping this kind of negativity is down to the administrators of the groups and I have a huge respect for what admins do because it’s not easy to constantly monitor grown adults who should really know better.
Well, that’s my take on things! What do you think? Have you had good experiences or bad experiences with Facebook groups?
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