All opinions are our own – it’s important to note that this is not directed at our facebook group – it is based on 12 years of facebook experience!
Once a season, we get really agitated about something.
It all started with a blog that we wrote in response to someone’s ludicrous list of essential items one might need for a motorhome ski trip. That backfired when we got kicked out of a facebook group (read that one here). That was Winterised Year One. Year two brought about a whole new thing to get repeatedly angry about – pseudo science and nobheads making unhelpful suggestions that were at best sketchy and at worst, downright dangerous.
Year three and the Winterised Motorhome, Campervan And Caravan Skiing and Boarding group has gone from strength to strength. This awesome tribe of individuals have encouraged and supported each other – with the super experienced OG sharing their wealth of all things snow and vans with newbies and those venturing off grid for the first time. Solo travellers; families; Nordic skiers; and gappers – people in self builds; folks in expedition trucks; retired empty nesters living the dream…. All have found something in common on this growing community page.
And then something happened. 1000 members. Woohoo! How exciting to see this group of snomads grow! But almost to the day that the 1000th member was approved, things started to change. We had to make our first ‘pack it in’ post, but with the support of many members and an admin rant, things quickly returned to normal.
So why this post? It’s based on our personal experience of groups that we’re in and how we’d like to see this group survive and thrive.
This season’s rant is…wait for it…. Facebook groups.
The chances are, you’re a really nice person. You probably have a lot of experience in one or two fields. You can really help people. You also probably find community spirit in places that you belong. The kind of people who don’t struggle to stay interested when you blabber on about your weird obsession with antique axe restoration (James) or British Touring Car Championship racing (me). Your global playground. This is most people, and this is how most people use Facebook Groups, most of the time.
There does however seem to be something that happens to many of us (James and I included) that means that occasionally, we’re utter plonkers on Facebook. We get antagonised by some menial nonsense that’s got nothing to do with us, and chirp in with a poorly considered point or view or worse still, an argument.
I try to be rational. People use facebook they way they want to. There are no rules, despite strenuous efforts made by admins and moderators to manage the groups they oversee. It’s a crap job. Honestly, the number of times I shout ‘are you for real?!!!’ at my Facebook timeline is really embarrassing. I behave like a fascist dictator ranting about people’s inability to read anything anyone says or behave in a way I deem acceptable. And don’t start me on grammar and punctuation. Then I sit down and realise that I’m the ridiculous one and that nobody’s trying to launch a coup de grâce and that people in glass houses really shouldn’t lob rocks.
Wanna know something? Everyone I know does the same thing, whether they’re overseers or not. Everyone shouts about Facebook groups and gets angry with people they don’t know about things that are really just not that important.
So if you’ve got this far and you’re still with us, bravo.
So what can we do to make sure our group doesn’t descend into anarchy?
I wrote a post about it last week – here’s a good place to start:
From now on…(grab a cuppa – we would like you to read this please – are if you haven’t already READ THE RULES OF THE GROUP)
It does go deeper than this so here are the new guidelines.
Read the room
If you’re new to a group, familiarise yourself with the content and the tone – it is a community. In real life, if you walk into a fancy hotel and you feel a bit out of place, the last thing you do is start f-ing and geoffing, or take your pants off and wave them over your head. So treat a Facebook group the same way. Keep your pants on and try not to make a scene.
Read the Rules
Another thing for newbies to a group. Read the blinking rules. Unless you run a group you will have no idea just how challenging it can be to bite your tongue and be pragmatic when people flout the rules or act in a manner that indicates they either haven’t read the guidelines or they simply don’t care.
“We don’t take our pants off and wang them tround our head here sir, sorry of that offends you…”
If you’re not sure if something you want to post is appropriate, ask admin. It’s really simple and they’ll really appreciate the respect you have shown for their attempts to manage the group conversation. Gold star for you.
Use the Search Bar
There are two types of naughty people posting on Facebook groups. Those who don’t know the search function in groups exists, and those who are lazy or self important.
Here are the facts. Facebook groups loose some of their very best, most valuable contributers as they grow. Why? Because people ask the same goddamn questions over and over and over. And after they’ve shared their insight for the bazzilionth time, they get fed up because they’re not getting anything out of it anymore. Then it really starts to go wrong. Chinese whispers take hold and then we have half-truths and misinformation relayed to an expectant poster – just ready and waiting to follow the instructions religiously, and probably blow themselves up on here-say and terrible advice.
The trouble is, we certainly don’t want people to hold back from asking good questions – but employing a pause before posting strategy might work wonders.
We remind people to use this function kindly provided by Facebook in four different places on the various group pages. People still ask perfectly valid, but over asked questions.
In contrast, I was given an extraordinarily useful piece of advice once by my my one time boss – a well known racing driver, who is approached time and time again, often tens of times a day with the same questions….he said
What you’ve got to remember is that it might be the hundredth time I’ve heard that question today, but it’s the first time they asked it – remember that when you are tempted to be exasperated or irritated by someone looking to you for help or validation.
Don’t Give Shit Advice
This is so tricky by virtue of the fact that most people giving shit advice, think their advice is awesome. Bumders. We’re yet to establish a way of handling this. Thankfully we have some smart people who know stuff about stuff around us, so we can fact check and take references to refute poor advice when we spot it.
This is all subjective. For example, ‘Alpe d’Huez is awesome for motorhome skiing’ is a fact…. But it needs elaboration as it is an incomplete statement and that’s not good enough. It’s great if you can exist off grid, it’s great if you have a family learning to ski; it’s awesome if you like a bigger, more commercial resort. It is however a terrible place to motorhome ski if you like tiny ski stations; loads of off piste and advanced skiing and hate kids. You see? That of course is the makings of a discussion – but there have been times when we’ve had to curb discussion of mixing tyre compounds and what is and isn’t legal regards the carriage of special snow equipment for vehicles. Our advice – only talk about stuff you really know about. I keep out of discussions about plumbing and James keeps out of discussions about the geography of the Alps.
Watch your mouth
Here’s the thing. People don’t know you. They don’t know that ‘you always say stuff like that’ or that you’re having a rough time or that you might not have meant it like that. But their reaction is as much on you as it is on them – and that doesn’t make them snowflakes. It is still a legitimate thing to be offended or peed off with something someone said… that didn’t go away just because we gave it a hispter name.
Be nice, think about how someone might take the things you say and remember that you’re not a hormonal 12 year old girl. It’s not ok to be yourself the entire time – when that concept gained traction I have no idea but it’s balderdash. ‘Yourself’ might be downright rude, so how about you pretend to be someone nice, considerate, thoughtful and mindful…. They sound much better company.
Use our website!
Obviously this only applies to people looking for motorhome ski resources but there are a few things on there that you might not know about that you might find useful. It’ll take forever for Winterised.com to be the ultimate guide to motorhome skiing, but we’re doing our best and with the help of contributors, we know it can be the best thing on the internet for motorhome skiers – that’s our ambition.
In Conclusion and a New Community
Facebook is evil and awesome in equal measure. We’re very passionate about maintaining a good and useful environment in the group and hope that those of you who use it – whether that’s daily, or just when you’re after a bit of advice – find it an awesome resource, full of interesting people, doing interesting things.
We have a new community app that will be launched this winter. If you’re interested in an off-Facebook place to hang out with loads of features and functions, please do sign up to our mailing list and we’ll keep you up to date with that and other awesome stuff.