Women Behaving Badly

Yesterday I was horrible. Not like calling out large corporations horrible, but really and truly awful. I broke my own social media rule.

I picked on a person.

It’s a long story, and the details of it don’t much matter, but I’m a rules person. I know you won’t really believe it when I tell you. I love rules and boundaries. I like to know what the norms are and where the bell curve peaks. I am completely capable of operating within the rules, and when I’m breaking one, it’s typically with some forethought.

I’m prickly, I wouldn’t call myself edgy, but perhaps I am honest to a fault. I’ve said that Penelope Trunk is a lunatic and ought to be shunned because she had an outburst wherein she published a man’s name and city. He had accused her of being a bad mother. Yesterday I behaved like Penelope Trunk, poorly. Yesterday, I came to understand why Penelope Trunk acted as she did. She was feeling protective of her kids. The fury that can surround us defies description and rational behavior.

I was called a bad mother by another woman, and rather than moving towards adulthood and ignoring her, I took the bait and called her every name in the book from c to f. I am not proud of it, in fact I’m deeply ashamed. In the spirit of authentic conversation I will not delete the twitter stream. (I also feel free to do so since twitter is all but unsearchable with their updates).

When I read another woman name calling my kids, I sat in front of my computer screen thinking of ways to kill her business. It’s easy enough to do, there’s the stumbleupon thumbs, down, shill bidding on eBay, spamming multiple sites from a blocked isp while using their URL…. really there are loads more, and I won’t give them all to you. Trust me, although I’ve been blogging a matter of months, I’ve made my living online for more than ten years. Nothing is sacred. Make no mistake, one enemy can dismantle you here.

After a few minutes of simmering rage, and fantasy smear campaigns that I’d never actually carry out, something remarkable happened.

Twitter went down for maintenance.

So I sat here with no chatter for a few moments and realized that I’d become the woman I never wanted to be. I quickly reached out to the other woman with an email, and an apology.

Guess what? She apologized too, and then we “spoke” a little via email. We have operated similar businesses and know some of the same people. I like her. And I feel bad, because as I was sitting here stewing, she probably was too. I used social media to make someone else feel awful.

That is not okay.

After reading Brian Solis’ latest article which references the social contract, I realized that I was more upset with breaking mine, than anything else. I was upset because I failed. I used this sizable platform (Twitter/Friendfeed) to hurt rather than help. It’s not okay, not even for a few moments.

I broke our contract, our heretofore unwritten contract.

At this moment I will put it in writing some of my goals with New Media:

  • Creating community and dialogue
  • Reminding women, mothers in particular, to trust themselves
  • Showing you the businesses that will destroy my children’s futures and holding their feet to the fire
  • Entertaining you
  • Directing your attention to news stories worth reading
  • Sharing our common experiences
  • Infusing our days with laughter
  • Calling attention to the leaders in our communities who are doing things right

My list will change, because every day I learn something new. What is on your list?

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Comments 14

  1. Nicely said. There’s only one way to apologize, and that is profusely, but with head held unapologetically high. We all make mistakes. It’s how we own up that matters.

  2. Jessica, I didn’t see the Twitter interaction nor do I plan to search for it. You’re a good person, and good people sometimes get caught up in emotions and act in ways contrary to their normal standard of behavior. Quite often (Dare I say most often?) this happens online. Usually you’d blow something like this off, but maybe the situation caught you at the perfect time when your defenses were down and you went postal.

    Don’t worry, it will blow over. And it takes a big woman to stand up and take responsibility for her actions. Kudos!

  3. I am the “other woman”. All I can say is we both acted foolishly. Jessica reached out to me first. I responded asking her to forgive me.. vice verse. All is good now. Yes, I also was a very bad woman behaving badly, if not worse. I am ashamed and still am. Today I hold my head up high and will call on Jessica as a friend now. She has taught me a valuable lesson.

    Jessica, you ask, what is on my list? Here is mine:
    in addition to yours…

    To respect each and every person with the same respect & dignity I feel I should be treated with from here on out.

    To make at least one person happy or laugh.

    xoxoxoxo
    Shelley

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      Author
  4. I’m proud of both of you, however I can still learn much from this as I too am to blame for these very antics.

    Problem on my end is that I really don’t care what happens. I have no kids, I can pack up my life and move in a minute if need be, and I’ve never had a sense of community with anything other than myself.

    I try to do good though and really only try to hurt myself and not others. I wear my scars with pride and cover em with some fantastic tattoo work. ;)

  5. This post is one of the reasons you are one of my favorite humans. You have a good heart and in a world full of phonies, you are the FIRST one to raise your hand and tell people you made a mistake. Or that you are sorry. You don’t think it’s that remarkable but it is. If more people would just say sorry or admit they were WRONG—-the world would be a better place. You rock woman.

  6. Occasionally you have to cross your own lines in the sand and draw new ones. Yes, it makes it easier to be that much more brutal, but nobody can be rational all the time.

  7. Not to change the subject (because this subject is a good one) but I’m sending you a goofy “Splash Award” to lighten the day. It’s for supporting and inspiring me in the early days of MY blog. You’re one of the early people who supported me and I appreciate it. I look forward to seeing YOUR list of blogs to read – should be interesting!

  8. Penelope Trunk took it too far. It wasn’t just name calling it was calling his HOME. I think you lost your cool, she’s shown she’s a lunatic on more than one occasion.

  9. A number of years ago one of my commenters decided that they didn’t like me and threatened to call child protective services.

    For two weeks he/she spent time each day trying to scare me with tales of how they were going to have my children removed from my home etc.

    This sort of craziness is one of the bonuses of interacting with people online.

  10. Actually, there are times when a blogger needs to be called out on his *hit. Go to Roissy in DC and find the posts where he encourages his deluded fans to beat women senseless, because hey, they always come back to a man who does so. Biggest slime out there.

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