Monday, November 3, 2014

Change is good. Mama's Hip has a great, new, online community.

I think the most annoying thing about Facebook is how many people whine and whine whenever Facebook makes a change. Remember when they shifted to the "Timeline" and you couldn't scroll through a feed without someone (maybe you) screaming, "I HATE TIMELINE! DELETING MY PROFILE!!" 

Goodness, people, relax. Change is what moves us into the future. I know, I know, it's not always good, but we have to try to improve our lives. You don't have to be an early adopter, but maybe try something before you freak out?

Here's what's up: The Mama's Hip Facebook Groups are closing and being removed from Facebook, by choice. They are making a move to a private online community, away from not-so-private Facebook, to a private, safe online place with an easier search function and an easier way for the admins to moderate. They are also suggesting you pay for this better service (although no mama will be turned away because she can't afford it) because it's really, really expensive to design and maintain a website as sophisticated as this one one they've created.

I tell you this not because I happen to teach classes at Mama's Hip. (I'm not actually an employee there, and I don't want to speak for anyone who is.) I tell you this because you might be a new mom out there who is too introverted or too tired to leave the house. And you need community. You really, really do.

The choice to move, as I understand it, is not about making anyone rich. Even if all 3000 members from the Facebook group pay (they won't), I suspect the admins would still not even be making minimum wage. The admins of the current Facebook groups have volunteered thousands of woman-hours to moderate and extinguish the fires when they started. Volunteered. For years.

This isn't about a business owner trying to exploit anything or anyone. It's not a get-rich-quick scheme. It's about buying local and supporting each other and the community that one mom created from nothing. Facebook doesn't need to make money off us (we are the product, remember?), but it might be nice to help pay for the electricity bill at Mama's Hip.

You know what? I hope it takes off. I hope everyone pays twice what she's asking ($3/month or $25/year SO CHEAP), and I hope the actual employees can maybe afford to take a paid vacation or something crazy like that.*

As a business owner who gets asked to donate her services for free all the times (three times in the past seven days, in fact), I understand that people don't always value the time and energy we have put into our services. But if you're whining because you have used the Facebook group for years, and you love it, and you can't believe this change is happening, please think about what you're supporting before you start defaming the staff and its grand vision. It's about community, not profit. But, also, it's nice to have heat in the winter. (Trying really hard not to digress into diatribe about musicians constantly being told, "It's about the art, and you should do it for free." Yes, and again, it's also nice to have heat in the winter.)

I, for one, am really looking forward to exploring this forum. It takes much less time out of my day because I'm not on Facebook, ergo I don't get distracted by Facebook. The layout and search functions are the new site are better, you can create an anonymous profile if you are worried about privacy, and the moderators don't have to deal with Facebook trolling drama.

*If you can't afford the forum, there will be a free option available in a few weeks. No one will be turned away. Also, if you're borderline should-I-pay, maybe think about what value you get from the Mama's Hip Forum the next time you are in the Target dollar aisle, and consider if it's worth more than that chicken hat.

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