I do not know a single person affected by this tragedy, but as a human being, and yes, even more so as a mother of a 5 and 7 year old, I weep with them and for them, as this hits so close to home. The tragedies of Newtown could have happened anywhere in this country.
I want to talk about something that transpired on my FTLO Facebook page over the weekend. It was a discussion that began over my comment that I was saddened to see so many companies and fellow bloggers and small business owners continue on with their promotional social interaction. Note, I was not implying the world should stop or business should stop, or that we should stop living our lives, but suggested that the marketing and self promotion could have been given a rest for just a while. I continued to Instagram and tweet pictures of us silly Californians never being prepared for the rain, and attended a company Christmas party, and showed off my sweet baby.
My husband has told me to just let it go, but I can’t. Not because I want to change people’s minds or attitudes or beliefs, or to beat a dead horse, but because I honestly feel I was misunderstood. While many agreed and got what I was saying, there were plenty of readers that didn’t and tried to give explanation for my confusion. I tried to write this post for a long time this morning, and after writing a response to Jules’ post today, I’m pleased with my answer and will sort of just cut and paste it here if you don’t mind. Because my mind hurts from trying to reword it differently. Please forgive me.
Several companies, including the company I write for, Disney, went silent on Friday on their FB page. They wrote a brief note of acknowledgement and condolence and stopped ALL means of interaction on their FB page throughout the entire weekend. DISNEY, a mega corporation as big as they come. Usually the weekends are a very busy time on their FB page, and they update several times throughout the weekend with blog posts (like the ones I write), and product posts. Yes, they still went about business as usual in their online and brick and mortar stores, but in the category of social media they went silent.
I’ve thought A LOT about this the past 3 days. I’ve asked myself why it bothers me so much. I’ve even wondered if it has anything to do with the fact that at 18 I lost my brother when he was shot and killed, and we still have not found his murderer. Duh, I’m sure that has a lot to do with it.
In the grand scheme of things, discussions about gun control, and school security, and how we deal with mental illness, and how to prevent a tragedy like this from happening again are all supremely important parts of the conversations we need to be having as parents, and as human beings. But what is also important, is the conversation of how we as an online community and country, react and deal with tragedies like this, in terms of social media and our online engagement. We love to point fingers at violent movies and video games and the role they play in desensitizing our youth. But can we also face the tough question of how social media in some ways has desensitized us adults (and kids too)? Do a quick google search and you will find countless articles and posts about how we are wanting more and more instant gratification of online enrichment, and are ready to move onto the next thing before the current has even ended.
I am not saying that all those that continued to conduct business online Friday and Saturday are heartless and insensitive. I swear I’m not saying that! And I am not saying that I did not see plenty of GOOD online over the weekend, because gosh I did. I saw a Connecticut woman I follow on Twitter, who is also suffering from metastatic cancer, take the time to talk about dealing with and processing grief. I saw well written and thought out posts about how to talk to your children about this tragedy. And I saw so much heartfelt compassion. And for the firs time since he took office over 4 years ago, I identified with our President, and felt proud to have him represent us in this tragedy. But I saw plenty of things that just smacked of ickiness, enough so that it made me pause and question how we, and myself included, are using this medium to engage with each other.
All I wanted over the weekend was for the companies and the small business owners I engage with online to just sloooow down for a bit. Compose yourself, talk and think your strategy through. So that you as a company can prevent debacles like this from happening, as evidenced by KMart.
I know this is a tiny part of the big picture, and moving on from this I plan to focus my time and energy on ways I can help, and try to improve the safety situation at our school. I received an email from our school principal this morning about how we will look at school safety when we are back from break. I have a few ideas for her, seeing as how there are at least 5 gates that are unlocked at all times that anyone could just walk right into. I live 25 yards away from the school and my front door sits directly in front of the lunch tables. I see my kids eat lunch there everyday and I can wave at them from my porch, and you know what I thought this morning? They are like sitting ducks right there. No one would even have to scale a fence to get to all those babies. That’s the first thing I plan to talk to our Principal about.
And as a Conservative, let’s talk gun control and how we need to have a much more balanced, SANE approach to gun regulation.
And as a mom and member of this great nation, I’m going to look into the best ways I can help those suffering and directly impacted by this tragedy, in the coming weeks and months ahead. Here are a few resources I’ve found or have been pointed to that outline how you may help in the wake of this tragedy:
CNN had the most extensive list of ways you can help, including links to the Facebook pages of some of the victim’s families.
I did not see the United Way’s link on their list, so here you go.
Nice Girl Notes compiled some more intimate ways to help.
And on that I’ll end. If after this explanation, you do not agree with me, then we will just have to agree to disagree. If you disagree, I hope you will at least respect the fact that you can always expect me to be honest and real, even if that sadly costs me some followers and readers, as it has already done. Tonight I continue to pray for peace for the families of this tragedy, and for our nation to help heal, and come to terms with how to deal with this and try to prevent it from happening again.