A long, long time ago, when dinosaurs ruled the earth and face book was a mere baby going up against Myspace in the popularity stakes, I started my own facebook account. Excited by the opportunities it presented to make friends, have a laugh and help animals, I quickly became a prolific facebooker.
In time, I joined a small group which I will refer to as … ah .. the A4 group. They appeared to be a great group of animal rescuers, defenders, networkers and I made quite a few friends. In a short space of time, they grew to a huge size, with groups for every type of animal rescue, care and campaign and I was very proud when I was asked to be administrator for several of them.
I did take care not to take on more than I could manage and when asked to admin for a couple more I said no, on the basis that I could not deliver any value. I saw no sense in having kudos for something I couldn’t truly do.
Working with a friend, I spent hours and hours advising, administrating, checking out new people who asked to join (animal rescue groups do attract a high number of trolls) and spotting any trouble-makers before dealing with them. Because of the numerous groups this original group spawned, we would often see people getting confused and posting in the wrong groups. And sometimes gentle direction didn’t work and sometimes it did.
Electronic life spilled over into real life as a very few of those people shared and helped home animals in need in real life. The frustration was that so many would simply think they had done their bit by signing a petition. You know, China is going to be so moved that 1,000 people in the UK have signed a petition to make them stopping skinning animals alive that they are going to stop forthwith, issue an open apology to all nations and pledge $1millions to all of those out of work from the banning of this vile trade …
But I digress …
When I wasn’t working, A4 received hours and hours of my time, day and night. I was doing something else online too, something I don’t talk about much and won’t. But it was something that I am very proud of being a small part of and something that will haunt me my whole life.
Not working meant I could contribute in a way I hadn’t been able to before. And A4 got a great deal of side benefit from my late nights and constant google searches.
The “something else” led to me forging friendships with people I believe to be true heroes. They are a brave, clever, funny lot and having a common cause meant a great deal of inside humour. I would also trust them with my life.
I got a job, carried on giving A4 lots of my time. I started hearing some bad press about A4 but I know that successful groups will always attract criticism. Then they became linked with a man who has been exposed as a fraudster, making money out of the exploitation of animals. I still didn’t believe it and when added to a group that banded together to out the fraudster, spent time defending them. Common members did not, after all, mean a common purpose. And I am someone who has to base judgement on hard fact or hard evidence.
I find hysterical cant hard to believe in.
In the meantime, I tried to find homes for animals, cared for my furries, just lived my life. I got added to more groups than I could cope with (try over 1,000 notifications in one day folks for a bit of online stress) and I had to make some tough decisions about which groups to stay with and contribute to and which to remove myself from because I simply could not add to them. I posted a status about it and went ahead and deleted.
One of the members from the group who I trust with my life and I discovered a common, sick humour. Many injokes followed. He is a dedicated animal activist and also enjoys taking the mickey of me. There is a lot to take the mickey out of. I am a 40-odd year old advocate for kindness. I can be funny but I spend a lot of time being sad. I have comedy breasts.
I can be strident and loud and you can’t mistake me for anything else than what I am – a slightly jaded but still enthusiastic animal advocate. Such mickey-taking included mounting an internet campaign for my comedy breasts exposure, one day becoming my breasts in order to campaign against the rest of me for refusing (you had to be there but it was hilarious – if you have never had an argument with your breasts about why it isn‘t a good idea to post naked pictures online, or can’t imagine it, then you may not get the humour) and when I had to go a little deeper in my online persona and posted a pic of me in monster slippers, started an internet group to protest against me cutting the feet off animals to use as footwear.
Anyone who had been on my face book for any length of time would know that this was a joke. As it wasn’t the first joke group my friend has started, when he posted it on my wall, I asked to join it and asked him to add the usual suspects.
It was with great surprise that a few days later I received a message from the owner of the A4 groups, aka God, informing me that I had been removed as an admin because (a) I had removed myself from the anti-bear bile groups, (b) was taking the piss out of animal abuse and horror of all horrors (c) HAD POSTED A PHOTO OF ME WEARING FAKE BEAR FEET.
The fact that they look nothing like bear feet and if you knew anything about bears or had ever actually seen a photo of a bear you would know this, was apparently irrelevant.
Apparently someone had reported to him, expressing their disgust and horror at the group my friend had posted and my cavalier attitude to it. I was at first bemused, then horrified that someone could think that of me and then when I realised that someone had not even spoken to me about it, but gone snitching like a scared child to teacher … angry.
Apparently, God had removed me from his friends list some time before because I had left the bear bile group and this group my friend had set up was the final straw. Having spent a substantial portion of time giving them my time and energy, in a life that doesn’t exactly lend itself to either, I eventually was livid.
Giving it some thought, I realised that (a) what people had been saying about them (bullies) did have a grain of truth to it and (b) that despite every bit of evidence to the contrary, one of my “friends” had copied and sent to God my responses to the joke group as evidence of my “betrayal”.
I expressed my upset and my horror and God sent me a bone “Admin positions are reviewed regularly and may change at that time. Thank your for your input up to now.” I sat back, looked at that and realised that I actually didn’t want to be a part of a group that, without even discussing with me, would act as snitch, judge and jury and decide I wasn’t good enough anymore.
My sins included declining membership of their bear bile group (I was told that it now had 6,000 plus members, so why the fuck did they need me?) but being a member of (in his words) “some cranky little group that does sod all for animal rights; because to some people animal rights is nothing but a joke.” I then realised that he wouldn’t know, as he was too busy self-promoting and being proud of 6,000 keyboard activists (who do nothing except share petitions and exclaim how terrible it all is), that he had no idea who my friend was, what the joke was (it was on me) or what we had and were actually doing, or why we needed the humour.
I wasn’t going to go into what we do. I realised suddenly that I was at the mercy of a self-righteous bully who had no intention of understanding what the joke was, but was instead terminally pissed off because I had had the temerity to remove myself from one of his precious groups. Oh my goodness. What a crime!
And moreover, Mr Keyboard Activist Bigshot had sought fit to judge my friend too and I quote again “If it’s no laughing matter to you it certainly seems to be for your friend C, who could have put his time to much better use, by joining some genuine groups instead of treating the whole matter as one big joke.”
My friend who spends hours and hours of his time tracking down animal abusers. And if God was that omnipotent and powerful and truly interested in animal abuse, he would have known exactly who C was. So I declined the kind offer to stay in the groups (aw, how kind, he had decided not to ban me from them). I was clearly a terrible person who promoted and laughed at animal abuse and wasn’t good enough to admin for them, but I apparently was good enough for them to want my time, my knowledge and my advice in their precious groups.
I deleted my membership of every single one of them.
What people forget, when they get too self-righteous and big for their boots, is that membership of groups on facebook is voluntary. Administration of such groups is time-consuming, hard work. And it is also voluntary.
And I refuse to be part of any group, however big, who treats its members and hard-working admins like shit just to prop up their small penis complex. I think I have deleted the snitch but I can’t be sure … so if you are reading this, yeah, this post is about you … fancy coming clean and apologising, you miserable chundering, yellow-bellied twat?
No, I didn’t think so.