It took me a while to learn how to win at Blackjack. You can't be all intuitive about it. You can't bet on a strong feeling that the dealer has a 16 and that your next card on an 18 will be a 3. You just follow the rules -- what cards warrant a hit, what warrants a stay.
So it is with social media. The rules say that you publish relevant comments to your posts -- even if they are negative. It's part of being in an honest dialogue. So I did that with my 48 hours of hate mail from the Pregnant Teenagers on BabyCenter.com. I'd apologized profusely, but many of them still had something to say about how wrong it was to post a (supportive) reply to a girl considering placing her child for adoption.
I was scared that a prospective birth mom might read this and think I'm a monster. I considered just deleting all the posts and the comments. But, in the same way you hit on a 17 when the dealer is showing an 8, I just kept it all up there. And then, in the same way that 3 or 4 comes as the next card, the sweetness began to roll in.
We're all scared. We're all feeling raw and protective. We all want Blackjack.
"I didn't mean to come off sounding so...bitchy. I tend to have a sharp tongue. I've been on the Pregnant Teenagers site for 3 years so I know the impact adoption posts have on the girls there. I never stopped to think you would not know that. I sorry for that."
"Hello, I was one of the teenagers on that board when you posted. I did not comment, however. I understand your frustration and confusion. I did not comment on that post because I knew that you weren't being condescending, and you really thought that perhaps this forum was some sort of link to a possible adoption. I am sorry some of my cyber friends were so horrid to you, but you have to understand where they are coming from. I am a teenage mother. I am 17 years old and my daughter is one. I was planning on giving my daughter up for adoption up intil three months. Please don't be too offended. They were just protecting their rights as mothers. Hold your head up. You will get your baby."
"i was lurking on the pregnant teen boards and saw your post. i understand their reactions, but it seems as though you're not as terrible of a person as they make you out to be. keep at it. you'll get your baby soon enough."