Alright, it’s time to talk about the elephant in the room: Facebook spouse pages.
When I asked to write about this topic, it was somewhat off the cuff (and absolutely induced by a large glass of wine). Now that I’m sitting here, ready to address the issue, I must admit I feel a tad nervous to dive headfirst into the sea of piranhas that await me. And, if you’re actively (or even casually) involved with military spouse Facebook pages — you’ll know what I’m talking about.
There’s a sense of yin and yang involved with this topic. On the one hand, I thoroughly believe that support pages for military spouses are, overall, an incredibly helpful forum. Most pages I am part of are run by diplomatic, level-headed people who have everyone’s best intentions at heart. They’re a place for people to seek advice and let off steam about the trials and tribulations of military life (and, let’s be honest, this is entirely necessary at the best of times).
On the flip side, however, this little pocket of the Internet contains a malignant growth of something a little more unsavory. Many groups begin with the best intentions, but quickly devolve into social minefields. It’s become a strange theme; this appetite for battle, a hunger for — well, drama.
If you’re familiar with clicking on a notification to a thread of hundreds of comments/replies, snaps of screenshots and proclamations of “shots fired!” — you get it. I’m not talking about the women who bite the bullet and lay out their problems with the hope of a little good advice; I’m talking about the sense that someone is out for blood, searching for an excuse to prod someone the wrong way, starting with a few eyeroll emojis and a flippant remark, and ending in a viral hurricane of abuse.
Maybe I’m just sick of seeing the word “butthurt” being thrown around more frequently than basic pronouns. More so, I’m just not sure why more people aren’t appropriately revolted by the fact that we’re spouses of service members, and we’re busying ourselves by picking on one another on the Internet. It’s become so rampant, so commonplace and so damn negative.
So, in a small attempt to break the relative silence on the spouse underground, and at the risk of sounding like a knock-off Taylor Swift: Can we all just learn to lift one another up? Here are some thoughts to consider when navigating your way through the world of spouse social media.
1. If you wouldn’t want your spouse to see it, don’t post it.
Pretty self-explanatory stuff, guys. Of course, if you’re seeking advice on your relationship try a group with an “anonymous” dropbox/posting anonymously via an admin. Screenshots can be fired at any time, and whatever the subject matter, remember that as a married service member, there is a level of decorum that at least he/she must maintain.
2. Know your audience.
Different groups have different rules and regulations about what you may/may not post. Furthermore, after spending some time perusing through a particular group, as a sensible adult you soon get a feel for the sorts of topics that people discuss appropriately. Some pages are specifically for ranting and raving, while others are more advice-oriented. And, while this may be stating the obvious, definitely don’t be airing your dirty laundry in a place where your spouse’s chain of command might be clued in!
3. Never CUI!
CUI: Comment Under the Influence. Just — nope. Stop yo’self.