There's some stuff that went down yesterday that has left a bad taste in the mouths of a lot of my local mom friends and connections.
My initial reaction was concern for the people involved- specifically one person who I consider a friend.
My next reaction was concern for all the moms who would be angry about the changes.
I've mentioned that online community for moms a few times. It was a discussion board. It was originally a small website just for local moms. It was run by the local newspaper (which is owned by a Corporate, national group). A few other cities also got their own sites as well. Our site and another city really seemed to take to it and our sites were very active and popular.
The corporate folks decided that you have to grow a good thing so they connected all the sites into one network. We each still had our own city area but we fell under one big umbrella. There were now national groups and threads and admins. Our leadership took a hit in having responsibilities and power cut.
Then more changes happened. And a few more.
I stepped down from my paid role a few months ago when new contracts were rolled out with demands that I knew I wouldn't be able to meet. But I wasn't leaving the site. I'd seen too many wonderful things happen there. I saw the community come together to support a family when a mom was diagnosed and quickly passed away from cancer. I've been part of the team that walks and runs in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. I've been part of and also observed the teamwork of moms coming together at the holidays to lift up families in need.
Personally, I've gotten valuable advice on managing my kids, been encouraged in my efforts to become more physically active, been able to offer advice on topics ranging from breastfeeding to marriage to things to do when visiting Indianapolis.
I've been a message board mama for a long time. I've done the Baby Center thing and checked out Cafemom and was a member of Pregnancy.org for a long time. I have connections- real friendships- with women from that last site.
But I was plugged into this local group in a different way. And as the changes came, I rolled with it. To some degree, it was because I was asked to be positive and encouraging about the changes. More than that, I still very much believed in what we could accomplish as a group and that the design of the site wasn't what mattered- it was the people who posted and connected that mattered.
Yesterday, our site administrator was layed off. Yesterday, we were informed that our monthly magazine was gone.
It's another step toward making the site less personal.
And I can't stand behind it anymore. I can't be positive about these new changes. The person they cut was part of the lifeblood of the site. When they reduced her job on the site to practically nothing a few months ago, the change was in the air. But I hung in there.
Thankfully, I'm connected with a lot of those moms through Facebook and several of them read my blog and I read the blogs of some of them. Because my time on that online community is done. If things had been handled differently, maybe this would have a different ending. If the national corporation had opted to take up the proposal to let us have our independent little local site again, things would be different.
I'm going to miss that community. But I know the power of those women and they don't need a specific message board to continue to create positive waves in our real life community. Yes, it will be a bigger challenge to be organized and connected and to share. There will be a learning curve to using Facebook or a new platform to stay connected to each other. We lose our connections to the lurkers.
But endings always happen.
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