This post contains affiliate links + gifted items.
Can I just start this post by saying that I love community? I truly do. I enjoy connecting with and supporting others, especially other women. One of the ways I do that is through this blog and my social media. Another way I do that is through online Facebook groups, which many of us belong to in some shape or fashion. And if you do, at some point or another, you’re inevitably going to get the boot from one of those groups, excommunicated without a second thought. This happened to me–yes, I got kicked out of a Facebook group and I have a problem with it.
Typically, every Facebook group you join has rules that you must agree to follow as part of your admission to the group. Y’all, I’m an attorney, which means I’m pretty good at understanding rules, and I follow them. One of my friends added me to the a popular Facebook group for women’s clothes (I would link it for you, but I can’t find it to share since I’m kicked out.haha). It quickly became one of my favorite Facebook groups. I enjoyed connecting with the other women in the group. It was fun seeing upcoming releases, checking out how others were styling pieces, and sharing styling tips.
Well, one day I noticed I was muted in a group, and reached out to an admin to ask why. She essentially said that I was muted for breaking the rules. Essentially, it was against the rules to post affiliate links (which I would never do anyways on a group board) and they claimed I had broken that by posting a link to a blog post. Here’s what happened: someone had asked how to style a certain item of clothing, and I dropped a link to my blog post (not an affiliate link–blog post links are NOT affiliate links) that directly addressed the poster’s question. I asked the admin to please clarify the rules, as I didn’t want to break them. The admin got huffy, and sometime over the next few days, I was removed from the group. Yes, I was removed from the group for going to an admin and asking for clarification on the rules. [INSERT EYE ROLL] I had definitely seen other bloggers drop blog post links before with no issues, and let’s be honest–if you’ve been blogging for any length of time, you’re probably using affiliate links. I also disclose mine at the top of every blog post, just like in this post here.
Now, if you’re going to be an admin of a Facebook group, you should be prepared to address issues like that in a respectful way. What is it about the internet that emboldens people to be rude AF to others? Especially in a group full of other women–what happened to supporting and empowering others? This type of behavior goes against everything that an online community should stand for. Yes, if someone is blatantly breaking the rules, kick them out. But in situations like the one above, be an adult, revise or clarify the rules, and move on.
I mean, in all honesty, I really don’t care that I was kicked out of that particular group. I’m bringing this up as part of a broader discussion about online communities and acceptable behavior. Just because you’re online doesn’t give you an excuse to not be nice to others.
And here’s the thing–kicking someone out of a Facebook group is an effective way of silencing them, which isn’t cool and shouldn’t be done lightly. In life, there are going to be differences and disagreements. Part of being an adult is learning the appropriate way to address them. And if you’re going to be admin of an online community, then that’s a duty you shouldn’t take lightly.
I want my blog and social media to be a place where you not only feel welcomed, but you feel valued. Seek out online communities where you feel empowered and can actively support others. Always conduct yourself in these online communities as you would in real life.
Are you part of any online communities?
ICYMI, here’s this week’s post:
High Five for Friday Linkup
TGIF!!! Della at Della Devoted, Becky at BYBMG, Whitney at Come Home for Comfort, and myself want to welcome you to the High Five for Friday link-up and the weekend. We made it! High Five for Friday is where we come together to share our favorite posts we’ve written throughout the week. Drop up to 3 links below!