Online Negativity

I’ve been spending too much time online.  I know when this happens because things start getting negative in forums.  I always have good intentions but inevitably I end up putting my foot in my mouth. 

For example, every now and then through pregnancy I would hang out on the trimester boards on the WebMD community.  Occasionally I would exchange in positive conversations.  Well in my second trimester someone was venting that people were giving them a hard time about smoking during pregnancy.  One person linked a whole bunch of articles saying why they shouldn’t smoke while pregnant.   Everyone on the board freaked out on the girl that offered the links.  I thought it was an unfair reaction so I stuck up for this girl.  I also told the original poster that she shouldn’t state on a medical message board that she smokes while pregnant.  I got a super negative response and I took a good long break from that message board and the internet in general.  It was good to get offline and get back to my own life though.

Toward the end of pregnancy everyone in my same trimester was posting about scheduled C-sections and inductions, ways to self-induce, dilation, effacement and what have you.  One girl was all upset because she really didn’t want to be induced but her Dr. was recommending it, but not forcing her.  I offered advice saying that she shouldn’t be forced to do anything she was uncomfortable with.  Then I continued saying too many women get induced when it’s unnecessary and it leads to too many C-sections.  Well, just about everyone on the board flipped out on me.  I though what I said was innocent enough, but they had been offended.  I have never been back to the board, especially since I had to be induced myself.  It was not voluntary, but medically necessary.  Anyway, I felt I had really put my foot in my mouth.

So this week I started chiming in on a post in the Vegetarian Cooking group on Ravelry.  Rachel Ray had done a 30 Minute Meals that was vegetarian and the main course was pasta.  So a bunch of members said it was a cop-out to do pasta as a main dish, and vegetarians eat too much pasta and that’s why so many of them are overweight.  Enter me, all dumb.  I said “Are a lot of vegetarians overweight?  I’ve actually been able to finally control my weight after switching.  I don’t do dairy though.”  I upset a lot of people by this comment.  This really wasn’t my intention, and I felt it the question was innocent enough.

Well, I guess it was hurtful because as a vegetarian I was placing stereotypes on other vegetarians.  I didn’t mean to.  But I assumed other vegetarians had had similar experiences to mine, and thus other vegetarians were also quite health conscious.  Wow, I really feel stupid now.  But in my defense I don’t know any other vegetarians personally, just others that I blog with.  These other blogs are about health conscious vegan recipes.  Many other blogs I read talk about their struggle to gain weight, not their struggle with losing weight.

Even so, I was clearly in the wrong and I feel so bad about it.  I shouldn’t assume because “it makes an ass of u and me” but just me in this case.

Back to my original point, this signals to me that I’ve been spending too much time online and in forums.  I shouldn’t be so open with strangers.  Well, now I’ve made a goal to limit my online endeavours.  I am going to only allow myself 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening.  No more plopping down on the couch, picking up the laptop and making people feel bad.

My time will be better spent doing what I love… knitting for my sweet baby boy.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Online Negativity

  1. I am so sorry that people have misunderstood you. On-line since you can’t see someone’s expressions I think that makes it easier to misinterpret.

    Being a healthy vegetarian I understand why you made that comment and I might have done the same thing. However, I did work with a very vocal vegetarian woman once that was every ounce of 300 pounds (or more) who seemed to eat cheese fries everyday for lunch. So … what I am saying is there are many unhealthy vegetarians. We healthy ones tend to forget them.

    Have fun knitting and talk to you later,
    Alicia

  2. I’m sorry to hear about these bad experiences. Take some comfort in knowing that you truly didn’t intend to hurt anyone.

    Remember that “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” — Eleanor Roosevelt.

    I find that when people get worked up over something you thought was innocent, it is often because somewhere deep down they know that you are speaking the truth and that means they might have to admit it is true to themselves.

    I hope that make sense.

    Also, for every negative experience you have online, you probably have many, many more good ones that aren’t as memorable. Shake yourself off and come back when you are ready. Your friends will be here!

    • I’m not going away, I’ll just be limiting my time. I’m not leaving the IBK group, it’s such a warm friendly bunch of women who love nothing more than knitting for babies! I have fun in there and there’s never anything negative going on in there. Plus I’m way excited about my first swap!

      Thank you all for the sweet comments!

  3. I think that everyone from time to time encounters the negative flip side of the internet. I have a true love hate relationship with it myself. I frequently have to do exactly what you are doing, stop and reflect inside myself and focus on what is most important in my life. There are a few forums I frequent, but the second a forum turns negative (at all) I am out of there. When you engage people in these kinds of debates online, it can be an intense emotional drain on your energy. You should defend that energy at all costs since at this stage in life it is in short supply.
    It can be so easy when you are home with little children to overindulge on time spent online, the lure of adult conversation can really be enticing….

    Just snuggle that baby close and protect your heart from the negative world out there so you can give him your all…because these moments are so short and before you know it that sweet babe will be a young man. (my firstborn is turning 10 this week)
    hugs.
    Heidi

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