I guess a few of you reading this may have heard the expression “playground politics” in the last few days. I certainly have!
Hearing this so frequently led me to reflect on the expression and what it might mean?
Look at any (actual) playground and you will observe: alliance building, occasional back-stabbing, social exclusion and the ignoring of unpopular peers happening every day. And that’s just the parents at pick-up!
It’s true – it’s normal playground behavior for grown-ups and children alike.
For me the last few days have really given me time to reflect more deeply on how my (on-line) presence is perceived and received. It’s especially important to me given that OnlyDads is web-based organisation.
So I have spent an hour or so considering the sort of social groupings that I see present on social networking sites like #Twitter,
A summary of these groupings include:
A peer group is a group with members of approximately the same age, social status, and interests. Generally, people are relatively equal in terms of power. Single Parents for instance!
A group of people that have many of the same interests but can be rather inclusive
A club usually requires one to to become a sort of “member” – even unofficially
A group that gathers in a particular area. It is a group of people that often hang around each other. They can be like some clubs. Think mums with toddlers or Lawyers!
A mob is usually a group of people that has taken the law into their own hands. Mobs are usually groups which gather temporarily for a particular reason. On #Twitter, Mobs can be quite hilarious for those in them (like the time @coffeecurls tried to marry me off to some hapless tweep !!)
A small group to assist in law enforcement or “deal with” their own particular gripe or issue. These can be long-standing groupings or just temporary.
(…and there are of course complete existentialists who plough their own furrow – thank God!)
But the thing for me is this:
I have found myself in all of those groupings from time to time throughout my life – what does it say to those on the outside?
And so in school as in adult life, and most definitely now on-line, I REALLY have to be conscious of what it means to those on the outside of whatever social grouping I find myself in.
Here is a thought:
While it may have been sort of cool being part of the “hang around down the lanes” gang at school, Johnny, Pete, and Mary on the fringe (but just outside your group) may have been viewing you not as a “cool gang” – but as a most annoying, stuck-up, clique?
Please do feel free to contribute any thoughts…