{Personal & Professional} When Social Media Attacks

This week, something happened. I had the highest-ever trafficked post on my facebook page, followed by my highest same-day-traffic blog post to date. 

Then, something truly unexpected: I had a post go viral on pinterest!

I happy-danced myself all the way to the website traffic report to confirm what I thought I already knew. People so loved the photos from the aforementioned session, they'd shared images like this one all over the pint-ro-sphere.

IMG_0472.png

Hoo-rah! The people had spoken, and they'd recognized skills I've tirelessly developed over the last few years! Now to see WHICH photo was pinned...

Clickity,  click click!

{pause} 

Hrm. Ok. This was unexpected.  

Well, the talent recognition theory just went out the window. Oh well! Maybe they just thought it was silly and figured they'd share the chuckle with their friends. I choose to believe most people do in fact feel this way, and I should have stopped there. But I didn't. I jumped right to the comments for confirmation. My response went something like this...

{read first comment} Oh boy.
{read second comment} Oh boy...
{read third comment} ...
{pour myself wine}

Now look. First thing you need to know here is that I didn't assign nearly as much meaning (read: NONE) to that popular-pin-parody as the people taking the time to comment. I'm also not here to engage the commenters in any fashion. (I'm sure they put as much thought into their words as I did to the photo!) Nor am I here to play the victim. I put myself and my family "out there", and I cannot reasonably expect everyone to like me, my family, my work, my writing style, or even share my sense of humor.

But there IS a lesson to be learned from this.  

I'm a grown woman. Daniel is a grown man. Skyla is.. well, too interested in her current quest for toddler-abandoned food crumbs to have any interest in what people are saying about her on the internet. 

 

Unphased by her newfound fame.

Unphased by her newfound fame.

But my children are all over the internet. Yours are too. (Unless you don't have them yet..or ever plan on having them. In which case this applies in the form of a niece, nephew, neighbor, etc...) They will never know a world before their every milestone, success, or even failure is shared, tweeted, blogged or instagrammed. No privacy setting, or talk with an iphone-wielding relative is going to change that. 

We owe it to our children to model responsible, respectful internet behavior. But more importantly: when others fail to observe those standards (because they will).. we must model a healthy response that they can emulate when it's their turn opposite the faceless critics of social media. 

I let this debacle spoil my night. But I won't teach my (very observant) toddler that other's hurtful words can spin my reality or shatter my confidence. I will forge ahead. I will be me. And one day, when cyber bullies hurl their ugly words her way, I'll advise her to do the same. Sticks, stones, and all that jazz :) 

Parents, what wisdom are you sharing with the cyber generation??