One thing that is very helpful to a lot of people with thyroid issues is groups on Facebook. Finding other people who are dealing with similar issues, can help keep you sane, let you know about things you previous didn’t know or never considered and helps you make some friends.
I’ve been in several thyroid groups online and I think a basic primer on etiquette might help a person new to the Facebook groups.
Etiquette, is basic manners, social common sense, and treating others like you would like someone to treat you. You don’t have the added help of verbal or body language online, so what you type is very likely to be taken wrongly. Especially if you do not pay attention to what you are saying and how it might be viewed. Remember that there are lots of thyroid related support groups on Facebook and they all have a different “feel” to them, so if one doesn’t fit with what you need, move on to another. While you are in a group though, these tips will help you be welcome.
- Read the rules of the group. Usually there is a pinned post, a description or an “about” in every group that details information a new person to the group should know. Find out what is ok to post in that particular group. Some groups are for sharing happy things only, some are to debate different medical treatments, or for women only, etc. etc..Make sure you aren’t the person coming into a brand new group and posting about your fishing trip when the only posts allowed for the group are thyroid health only. People will not appreciate it and you may get banned.
- Spend a little time reading posts of others in the group before you post. This will allow you to know the tone of the group and get a good feeling for what is ok and what is not acceptable. This is the equivalent of going into a room full of strangers and hanging back a little until you know the subjects being discussed and the norms of what people like to deal with in that group.
- Know who is in charge. If you can, find out who the owner and admins are, so if you have any questions, you can ask for help, especially before you post anything that you may have any doubts about posting. Most of the time people will be happy to tell you, or you can look and see who posts the things about what is going on in the group.
- No spamming. This means unless the group is all about selling things, or you have specific permission to post something commercial, do not post it. Also do not post the exact same thing over and over again, that is also spamming.
- Add value to the group. If you have knowledge that will help someone, please share. This is what helps make groups great for everyone, sharing new ideas and stories to help everyone understand better.
- Remember emotions run high sometimes with thyroid patients. Once you are in the group, remember you are in a group with other thyroid patients. There is a special thing here that you may not deal with in other types of groups. The thyroid as most of us know can affect people’s judgments and make tempers and egos more sensitive. Things can get heated on certain topics. The longer you are in a group, the more you will find out what the hot button topics in that group are, so you can navigate them more easily.
- Consider carefully. When you type out a post, step up and away from your computer for a few seconds, then go back and read it. Does it seem helpful, friendly and informative? Then congratulations, that’s a good post, send it on my friend.
- Remember you are online. Remember that text online is your only way to communicate. Do your best to make sure your ability to write online is able to be comprehended by others. If your spelling and grammar is so bad that you cannot get your point across, then you will frustrate yourself and others. Perfect spelling and grammar is not needed, but you do need to be able to communicate effectively enough to get your point across when online. People cannot see your face, or hear your voice to help them figure out what you are trying to convey. If they can’t understand what you are asking, you might get a completely wrong answer from what you actually need to hear.
- No Poaching members! Definitely do NOT use a group to help you build your own group. Poaching members is not appreciated by anyone. If you have a completely different group than what you are in and think some of the members might like to be in that group also, then send a message to the group owner or admin and find out if they are ok with sharing this information. If they are then you are good, if they are not, then you might find yourself banned quickly.
- Participation is also key. Comment on something that interests you, or that you have knowledge or, give some encouragement to another member having a hard time. Play nice and you will find a lot of value interacting with other people in thyroid groups.
- Have fun! Let your personality shine, engage with people and enjoy meeting others like you.
Check out http://warriorbutterflies.com, there are two great closed thyroid support groups that are looking for wonderful thyroid patients to join listed on the main page.
Or go directly to Britney’s page on the site: Return to Warrior Butterfly Britney page