I belong to an infertility group on Facebook. The group is private, you have to be invited to join, and you are only allowed to join as long as no existing members say no to your joining (if that makes sense).
Everyone who joins understands the privacy of the group, it's a place to go to with your questions, your problems, your hurts and your joys.
None of which is for the public domain.
It is personal, and private.
Yesterday someone in this group had their trust broken. She discovered this when a colleague said that she was in their prayers, to which she asked how they knew, and they replied because of the information told to them by a person in the group.
Understandably this person is hurt and angry, and she has every right to be. I can't even begin to imagine the shock she felt when her colleague approached her and said what they did.
In my opinion, it is no-ones right to discuss anything private about someone with anyone else, unless there is a very close connection and a very good reason eg an intervention. I can not even begin to think as to where this persons head was at, it just doesn't make any sense. And I have to wonder, was the gossip, and that is what it was, worth it? Maybe it gave them a gossips rush for a short while, but long term they have to be feeling incredibly bad. I just don't understand it. Why would anyone do it?
However we also have to take a good look at ourselves. Nothing on the internet is totally private. Ever. And, while this group is 'private' and supposed to be a, 'what is said on here stays on here', there are 148 members (and climbing), and the only common interest is that we all suffer from infertility. To blindly assume that we can trust 148 strangers is a big risk to take. It doesn't make what happened ok in anyway, but people are what they are, and a lot of people do like to gossip, a sad fact of humanity. I have most definitely been guilty of it myself in the not too distant past, but I am learning not to (relapses of course, but getting far more infrequent).
While I pause to type it, we can not assume every person struggling with infertility is a nice person, we just can't all be. Maybe I'm not nice. Who knows? As in real life, for our online life we still need to take time to make our own judgements, take even more time perhaps. We can not just blindly trust people, especially people that we can not even see, regardless of how they portray themselves.
So what I plan to take from this experience is to really think long and hard about what I chose to share on the internet. I have recently begun to censor myself as to what I share and do not share. Essentially anything that I don't want to get back to anyone I know, I don't say or share, so I am trying to take care with my posts. And I must say it does involve a lot of writing, deleting, and re-writing, but it certainly takes away any worry of my thoughts and feelings landing in the 'wrong' hands.
We all have run-ins with family, friends, colleagues, aquaintances, Joe Bloggs on the street, and we all need to vent, but I don't believe that the internet is the correct place for me to do this. And yes, I know I vented about my BIL the other day, but it was a vent that I was more than happy for him to see, if he ever comes across it, however now, in hindsight, I do regret it.
Another lesson to be learned from. The fate of a sinner.
And, for me, hindsight is what it is all about. So, future vents will be written down old school, via pen and paper, and then binned when I am 'over it'.
We all want it, yet do we all provide it?