Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Viral social media

Over the weekend myself and some friends experienced the heady high of going viral. Not this blog clearly, while I love the numbers, just over 2000 views is not viral. I wasn't involved to start with, I was the second liker on a page that my brother had made in preparation for the election. It was meant to be a bit of fun, post a few memes, complain about things. The stuff that happens every election no matter who you support. Election day came and I checked facebook. The page that had fifty likes the last I looked, now had 5000.

That is impressive. I inboxed my brother and laughed, congratulating him on his 'success'. By tea time it had gotten too big and they weren't keeping up. They asked me to help out so I did. We were approaching nearly 50,000 people. Every time I'd go back to the computer another few thousand had been added. By bed time we had hit 100,000 + likes. There were offers to make t-shirts, buy the page, start political parties - it was really intense and overwhelming.

The problem is, this was never meant to happen. While all of us have strong beliefs about what we would like to see happen to the country, we most definitely do not represent any one political philosophy. In fact, among the four of us we differ in opinions. So trying to cater to nearly 140,000 people and keep them all happy is impossible. There were inboxes asking us to post links to activist sites, someone was upset about a song that mentioned gay marriage while another asked us to curb people's swearing. I don't know how we were expected to control the opinions and behaviour of that many people, but a lot of people expected it.

This will be the only mention of the vile trolls we had to endure.

By last night I'd had enough. I have a complicated life, I don't need the weight of something so big on my shoulders. I am not the sort of person who can stop worrying about things, so I have bowed out. 

But do you know what? This experience has totally reinforced something that I have been slowly learning these past five years since Nate's diagnoses:

You cannot make everyone happy. 

Someone is going to dislike how I parent, how Nate yells, Willow's chatter, Jude's curiosity or Andre's beard (not me, I love it). People are going to hate me, people aren't going to think much about me at all, but others will most definitely love me and there will be times I won't be able to make them happy either. Life isn't about making other people happy or making sure you are liked. It is about being happy yourself and that happiness will radiate out of you and make others happy just to be a part of your journey. The universe has sent me another timely life lesson in the weirdest of ways.

So one more time for luck - I cannot make everyone happy!