Our Family Readiness Group (spoken "FRG") has a Facebook page. Now this is a bad idea on so many levels, but it has proven to be especially excruciating...more excruciating than I had ever even anticipated. What is it about working on the internet that leaves people totally free to be absolutely hopeless? This group, as is often true in any internet forum, proves that there is, in fact, such a thing as a stupid question. I think there are three main reasons that these kinds of internet groups become such magnets for this behavior.
First, I think people are genuinely this unable to take a step. I think that women who are 32 weeks pregnant and only just now asking (randomly, on FB as a primary resource) about details like how to tour the hospital and how to get their kids enrolled in TRICARE are merely symptomatic of a larger problem. I am going to sound old and crotchety here, but it really seems like the population at large has lost all ability to exhibit any foresight or, god forbid, do some research themselves. Why be proactive and take care of your own life when you can just ask the internet? Sure we all poll the audience every now and then, but when it comes to big things like, oh I don't know, planning for babies, perhaps there are better resources than "the interwebz."
Second, I think people may have a poor understanding of what these kinds of social media can, and can't, do. People seem to think that FB pages and groups are direct interactions with the entities they represent. Just as people will direct customer service questions to the FB page instead of the appropriate e-mail or phone number, these women seem to think that the FRG page is some how a direct line to all the organizations in question. This is meant to be a social forum for people who share the common trait of being on this boat, not a personal concierge service to answer questions you can't be bothered to research.
Lastly, and this kind of ties into the second issue, I think these women have the FRG social group confused with the boat's Ombudsman. The Ombudsman is meant to be your resource when you are not sure how to get your questions answered. I think many of these "stupid" questions would be less problematic if directed, privately to the person who is actually tasked with pointing you in the right direction. Having served in the position of Ombudsman, I promise you that the 99% of the time, the questions you are asked are purely because the "asker" can't logic their way out of a wet paper bag (see issue one), but none the less, those situations are easily, and quickly resolved, when asked on a one-on-one basis.
Now, why does this even bother me? Probably because I am a know-it-all bitch, but deep down inside I think it might be more than that. I think I find myself genuinely worried about these women. I mean, if they can't even get their act together and figure out where they are going to deliver their kids, how will they ever handle the endless onslaught of real life when these guys disappear for months at a time? So this is the kind of "adult" the internet age has wrought. Clearly, I am too old for this crap.