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new media

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?