The Personalist Project

Accessed on September 27, 2023 - 12:01:31

Blocked? Me? Or, My Journey from Righteous Indignation to a Modicum of Self-Awareness

Devra Torres, Aug 17, 2016

I've lived a sheltered cyber-life: I was never even blocked from a Facebook group--until last Friday. It was surprisingly enlightening.

I'd joined a large, exceedingly useful and friendly diabetes support group. We were just about to get a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) for my daughter, and this group specialized in that particular experience--even our particular brand. The members were invaluable for heading off crises and glitches. Or rejoicing with you when the number on your meter matched the one on your CGM.  Or commiserating with true compassion when your negotiations with the pharmaceutical-insurance-industrial complex broke down. Or sharing your consternation about that lady who swears her brother-in-law's cousin used to have type 1 diabetes but was cured by oil of oregano and cider vinegar.

I was feeling especially grateful for the existence of my virtual community. I was starting to imagine I knew these fellow travelers personally--all 11,000 of them.

And that's when I made my mistake. I shared a post I'd written for Aleteia about remembering the person behind the glucose number, even though (as I noticed only later) they'd stated clearly that both people and posts that violated their guidelines could be deleted without notice. Two of those guidelines, which I'd skimmed over, were "no hot-button topics" and "no self-promotion."

I posted the piece and was immediately blocked.

And here are a few things I learned: 

I'm having a friend plead my case, and if that doesn't work out, there are other, similar groups. It's just a first-world problem. But it's also a bracing reminder that personal interaction in cyberspace isn't always what it seems.