The Odd Growing Sensation Within Social Media Groups


social media groups

Most mornings I skim my social media accounts to see what I may have missed overnight. Twitter – check. Instagram – check. LinkedIn – check.  Facebook – che…. 

….and there it is. This post in a local parents group:  Is the Pleasantville Library currently accepting book donations?

All I could do was stare, roll my eyes and shake my head. Sure, this is a harmless question from a parent who seems thoughtful, generous, and willing to help her community. Why though is this question asked in a parenting group? Shouldn’t she ask the library?

Most of us are members of various Facebook groups. Some quite informative. Some much less so. I find that the more specific or specialized the group, the more beneficial they are. Like, PTA groups for my children’s schools, college or high school alumni groups, or even specific causes I feel strongly about.

On the flip side, there are the more “open” or “general” groups. For example, neighborhood or town parenting groups. Sure, these groups are helpful for finding birthday party venues, local restaurant reviews, child care/preschool suggestions, hotel ideas, thoughts on local businesses and things of that sort. It gets somewhat cumbersome, as often the same questions are asked over and over again. But, I’ll give the user credit that he/she hasn’t seen the question posted prior. Facebook does have a neat “search” feature, but it’s not my place to butt in.

Many questions are from parents of newborns and much younger children than my own. Since my children are 13 and 10, I am beyond all of the questions about car seats and baby clothes, but for newer parents it may be a relief to have such a forum. It’s nice to read some opinions and even develop a camaraderie around certain aspects of parenthood. We all know parenting can be scary and a little lonely too!

The idea behind creating the groups is fantastic. BUT….I belong to a local one, which I will probably be booted out of now, where I cannot get over some of the posts! These poor administrators have my sympathy as some posts have brought about a lot of infighting lately. Some of the inquiries drive me completely batty. Almost comical. Almost embarrassing. If I had a more healthy head of hair, I’d definitely pull some out over these posts.

Have you ever heard of Google? Look. It. Up.

  • What time does the post office close?
  • Does anyone know when the pet store has their adoption day events?
  • How much does it cost to join the local pool?
  • Has anyone been to Chicago in the summer? How is the weather there?
  • Does anyone know the address for Dr. So-n-so?
  • I’m looking for the cost of apple picking at Autumn Farms.
  • My daughter’s first day of lacrosse is scheduled for tomorrow at Main Street Lacrosse Club. It might rain. What will happen?
  • How many maternity stores are in the mall?
  • When does flag football start in Pelham? Does anyone know the cost? 
  • Anyone have the movie schedule for the theater in town?

How about asking for medical advice? I can certainly support asking for doctor recommendations and I’ve even personally commented once or twice, but:

  • I have this pain in my lower back that typically happens every night when I go to sleep. What do you think it is?
  • My 10 month old had an allergic reaction. We took him to the ER and he’s okay now. The doctor at the ER told me how much Benadryl to give, but I can’t remember what he said. Does anyone know?
  • Does anyone have a really great, reputable, understanding, flexible, amazing, awesome internist they could recommend? (Please, please, please don’t recommend the bad ones  – and it’s a plus if they walk on water).
  • My cat keeps passing gas. Should I be worried?
  • My little one fell out of the crib and has a huge knot on her head. I’m nervous. What should I do?
  • My five year old got hit in the mouth this morning and knocked out a baby tooth that needed to come out anyway. It’s bloody and looks like there is a tear (picture was even included in this post)…we don’t have dental insurance, so if it is not a big deal, I’d rather not have to go to a dentist. Any advice?
  • I just pulled a tick from my daughter’s head! What do we do now?
  • Vaccination advice? (Really ladies? You’re going go THERE in a mom’s group with all the controversy surrounding this subject?).

Here’s a few others that made me wince slightly:

  • How do I get my 14 month old to stop ripping apart his board books? (You can’t – he’s 14 months old).
  • What happens if my 11 month old watches TV?  Can she get addicted? (Maybe..but on the flip side, it’ll give you some downtime).
  • What age is too old to have a baby? (This was prefaced with “asking for a friend,” by the way).
  • Best store to buy my daughter sneakers – besides… (mom goes ahead and lists 10 stores she doesn’t want to go to!).

Maybe I’m cranky and jaded, I can’t even…You’re asking us? I don’t think you actually meant to ask us, right?

  • My son is starting soccer this spring. The league requires cleats and shin guards. Is this really necessary for a 5 year old? (Yes, yes they are…Why would the league lie to you?).
  • I updated the software on my iPhone and now my phone keeps freezing, forcing me to constantly reboot it. Anyone have a fix?
  • I have a starter for my car. No one touched it this morning, but my car was on when I entered the garage. Very creepy. Who should I reach out to about this?
  • Yesterday I received a letter from my health insurance company saying that the local hospital is no longer considered in network. Not sure if this is specific to my employer or is it true for all members of that insurance company?
  • Is knitting gear allowed on planes? Like the hooks, yarn needles, etc.?

Did You Really Just Ask That Here?

We all have moments of temporary insanity and ask idiotic questions to/of the wrong people. We’re human. And it’s possible that I’m guilty of this as well – but not so much in a forum of over 10,000 people!

Sure, I could easy drop out of this group, yet there is still some useful information, as well as a daily chuckle. I just have to weed through it. And – I will say that I discovered my first opportunity to be a contributing writer for an online magazine through one of these groups. There are definitely some wonderful ideas, opportunities and recommendations – some that are truly life changing.

Yet, I cannot fully grasp why these questions are being asked here instead of to/of the resources where one can find THE answer. It truly makes me nervous that some might not take themselves or their children to a doctor based on the answers to their post!  Similarly, absolutely inquire about a recommendation for a therapist, but please remember that a parenting group on Facebook is not a replacement for that therapy.

Why do we do this? Have we become so accustomed with not making decisions on our own that we must ask a group of 10,000 people for their opinion? Are we so unsure of ourselves? Or are people so afraid of making a mistake that receiving information from a random stranger is good enough confirmation? Or could it be that we are THAT lazy that instead of looking up the most basic of information on own, that we pose the question to someone else?

Interesting really. Not sure how this phenomenon came to be or what it means. Maybe I should ask the moms in this Facebook group what they think?

So tell us, have you noticed these types of posts in your local groups? What do you think?


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Melissa is a Bronx native who moved to Westchester County after she and her high school sweetheart got hitched in 1997. She and her husband live in Mount Kisco with their son Corey (2004) and daughter Mia (2007). Melissa spent many years working in Human Resources and currently works in enrollment and marketing for a child care organization. Melissa is a two-time survivor of Postpartum OCD. She initially became interested in writing to raise awareness for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders but has discovered that writing is a newfound aspect of her life that she thoroughly enjoys. Melissa is excited to write with the Westchester County Mom team and hopes you’ll enjoy her stories of the trials and tribulations of a born-n-raised city girl raising teenagers growing up here in Westchester.