(Graphic by the NewBostonPost)

Chances are, you’ve either heard of or joined a Facebook group over the years. It’s a great way for people to connect with friends, loved ones, neighbors or people who you hate with a passion but want to stalk so you can see that you’re doing better than them.

There are “swap” groups across the country that let people buy and sell their junk. There are “living” groups that help people find businesses or find out what’s going on around town.

And then, of course, there are the people that run them.

 

In my experience personally and professionally, the vast majority of these admins are absolutely tremendous people. They started or maintain the group to help people connected. They are passionate about giving back to the community, teaching others or even connecting parents or businesses online.

Then, of course, that’s the subsection of admins that actually believe the Facebook group they run someone turned them into a mayor. Or a governor. Or God himself. Allow me to share an example.

Kickbacks and Incentives For Playing Nice?

I first experienced it last year in a group called “Granby Living.” Someone put up a post asking for kitchen design companies. Someone mentioned they heard Builder’s Choice in Southwick Massachusetts was a good company. Speaking from experience – and a horrific experience, at that – I can attest to the fact that Builder’s Choice in Southwick Massachusetts is perhaps the worst company I’ve ever used in my life. After an absolutely terrible experience (having to send back all of the cabinets not once but TWICE and having to make expensive renovations to the new kitchen because of a poor design), the owner’s attorney told us the only way we could get our money back would be to sign a contract stating we’d never mention a word of it to anyone and wouldn’t post anything on social media.

My lawyers are better than his. Got the money, didn’t sign the contract. And I simply responded to the post saying “I’d HIGHLY recommend not using this company, speaking from personal experience.”

My comment was deleted – as were similar comments that other people had left. I was told if I ever left anything like that again, I’d be kicked out of the group.

Turns out the admin works for a local real estate company who has a very “special” referral relationship with the owner.

So much for that whole “for the good of the community” line, right?

The Marketer Arises

With the recent heat wave and a toddler in the house, we decided to put in new air conditioning. I had a unit that was a few years old. I figured someone could use it. Instead of asking for money for it, I had a little fun with it on a group called Granby Connecticut AREA Swap.

I listed the air conditioner as “Bernie Sanders’ Air Conditioner” for $10,000.

“Our air conditioner decided it only wants to work half as much as the new air conditioner but wants us to pay just as much (in electricity).

We’ve decided to redistribute it to someone who wants to take on the burden of it’s [sic] laziness.”

And, in the spirit of full disclosure, it DID endorse our new air conditioner before I posted this:

“Will waive the $10,000 fee if you come pick it up while wearing a Trump shirt.”

The post very quickly picked up nearly a hundred “likes” in a group where the average post gets one or two “likes.” There were dozens of comments of support – including some Sanders fans.

There were, of course, a couple of whiners.

For example, one woman wrote: “Ridiculous. Not even close to funny. Don’t quit your day job.”

My response?

“Well, my day job is running a marketing agency. And judging by the emails and messages about this, I would say I’m doing a pretty good job.”

Ten more people responded to her in support of me before she deleted her comment.

I also enjoyed this exchange:

Linda: “This is not a political group.”
Me: “I’m trying to sell an air conditioner here. You should buy it. You need to cool off.”
Linda: “Nope. I’m chill.”
Me: “Chill, perhaps. But not very cool.”
Linda: “Feel the Bern.”
Me: “This is not a political group. Let’s try and keep things on topic.”

After all of the interest and questions, I decided to post some of the FAQ’s I had been receiving.

Q) Does it just blow a bunch of hot air?
A) Nope. I did note it works half the time.

Q) Can we email you for more details?
A) The American people are sick and tired of hearing about the emails.

Q) Is this only available to people in the top 1%?
A) Only if they’re willing to pay an 80% tax on it.

Q) Aren’t you taking advantage of capitalism by charging $10,000 for it?
A) I’m just looking to give it to the people!

Q) Will it be a battle to install it?
A) Can these guys talk about anything other than their desire to go to war?

Apparently it was enough to get my post deleted by an admin. Interestingly, they left no comment – just nuked it.

Even better? They kept me in the group so I could post “discussions”, but they blocked me from being able to sell things.

Lucky for everyone, in “discussions” you can post pictures still – so I posted a screenshot of the item for sale. Just because sometimes it’s fun to be an internet troll.

“Apparently the admin here is a Bernie fan and didn’t like my post / has no sense of humor…despite the more than 70 other people that liked it.

So thanks for deleting the post and blocking me from selling my AC here. #TimeToGrowUp #MakeGranbySwapGreatAgain.”

The support started coming back in immediately. Apparently this whole battle had an audience.

Minutes later, the mysterious admin magically deleted this post as well. Again, no comment – no message. Nothing. Apparently having a spine or willing to put a face to your “power” is becoming less and less common these days.

This now called for a screenshot of the screenshot. Time to call the admin out.

“Hey admin, if you’re going to continue deleting this, perhaps be adult enough to share your name so I know who to refer to in a national publication tomorrow. #MakeAdulthoodGreatAgain.”

Alas, no admin. But more support.

Apparently, I poked the angry bear a few too many times. Next thing I know? I’m not just out of the group – I’m blocked from it.

Small-town politics at it’s finest. Apparently the “Facebook Group Gods” were angered. And so they decided to handle things like a petulant child….stomping their feet, wielding their “power” and kicking me out.

And yes, let’s be clear – I’m well aware that I was acting like a total internet troll. But I was out to prove a point, dammit.

More than 30 messages on Facebook later from people I don’t even know, I figured it was time to start a group of my own.

Welcome to “Make Granby Connecticut AREA Swap Great Again.” I decided to give it back to the people. Anyone can join. And the free market will dictate what stays and what goes.

There are two incredible lessons to be learned here.

1)     Too much power – even when it’s self-granted power that controls nothing more than access for a few hundred people to a local swap group – can go to your head. If you’re going to “be a part of the community,” come out of the basement and understand it’s ok to actually have a sense of humor.

2)     “Social justice warriors” – and liberals like the admin of that group – don’t believe in freedom of speech, unless it’s something that they agree with. If they DON’T agree with it? They want to shut it down and ban anyone who says anything that they don’t want to hear.

Lucky for us…the market dictates everything.

If you’ve experienced these “social justice warriors”, give this a share. If you’ve experienced the “small town politics” and enjoyed reading about someone internet trolling the admins back….give this a share.

Oh, and feel free to join the group. You’re welcome here. This one is for the people.