The Closing Process

After several years of running the Real Whitby Facebook Group I recently took the decision to close the group down. People may have noticed that some members names are disappearing from the group. People should not take this personally.

The process of closing any Facebook Group involves an Admin deleting every last member of the group before deleting himself last. This is a long and laboured task, especially when you had 15,000 members. There is no “Delete Group” Button, it has to be done manually and one member at a time.

To clarify a few issues that seem to have arisen :

I started deleting names by going down the first page of posts and deleting members in terms of those who had made the most recent posts. It seems easier than going through the members list, and serves the purpose of removing recent posts first, which hopefully will show people the group is now shut. If your name was one of the first to go, that wasnt personal, it was because you were one of the most recent posters, nothing more complex or sinister than that.

My Reasons For Closing

Over the years the group seems to have become more and more difficult to control. If you put rules in place, people seem to dislike them, challenge them and try to cause trouble.

On too many occasions I have found myself in the middle of peoples personal disputes, almost like teacher in the school yard splitting up fights, and of course when you split up one, another breaks out in the far corner of the playground.

One night, whilst visiting a friend I received a text about issues on Real Whitby Group. Despite explaining I was visiting a friend and not active online, that person continued to bombard my phone with texts all night. I found this a total lack of respect for me and my privacy. It was an intrusion into my life and one I wasn’t willing to accept. I removed the person from my contacts in a bid to stop them hassling me, at which point they started a campaign of hate and harassment against me. Despite, all of this I continued with the group.

This was something I found difficult to manage, and in a large part I blame Facebook and their lack of Admin and Moderation provision which meant it was difficult to deal with anyone hell bent on causing trouble.

Over the months and years this has become a common theme, alongside numerous verbal attacks online and unwanted texts and verbal abuse in Whitby. Earlier this year I took the decision to leave the group, which I did sometime around July. Even then I was being harassed in town about the group, on one occasion I had to have the Police involved to stop a young man from following me about and threatening to smash my Camera.

Id just had enough and decided to focus hard on making a success of my new photography business. Thats a massive task in itself. Im sure anyone self employed will tell you they never get a day off and they can often work 12 hours a day. But free from Real Whitby my life was much nicer, less stress, and an ability to focus on me and where I was going.

More recently people started emailing me and messaging me about the group. Despite telling people I was no longer involved, they still saw it as my group and wanted me to intervene in their silly arguments. Recently I looked in and found a whole topic where people were arguing over one of my photographs, was it real, was it not real, was it edited, was it not edited. In all honesty who cares. If you dont like something move on. On another post a lady had actually stolen some of mine and Ian Davies photographs, cut off the watermarks and was presenting them as her own. Any artist will tell you how massively infuriating that is.

Enough was enough. It appears I created a monster. Through the years its been fun at times, but I can honestly say that for 90% of the time it has been nothing but hassle. So, after a lot of thought, I took the decision to close it.

Even in closure it is causing problems with people making assumptions about me closing it in some sort of personal attack on them.

The closure of Real Whitby Facebook Group was not a decision taken lightly, It was not a decision taken to stop anyones business aspirations or to stop them advertising their business online.

If I can ask one thing, I would ask that people respect my decision and respect my privacy. Unless you are a close personal friend then please do not talk to me or ask about the group, I wish to remove it from my mind completely so I can focus on the important things in life : My Children, My Mother, My friends, And My Business. Its quite sad that people don’t have the creative ability to master their own Social Media Channels and not have to rely on my creations to promote themselves.

Thankyou for reading, and thankyou for being part of what was occasionally a fun group to be the owner of.

Anyone wanting to follow my Photography Business, can do so by clicking here.