I am not a big fan of Facebook. I find the interface a bit busy and confusing, and I haven’t really worked out who can actually see stuff when I post it. But it is a big platform so I feel obliged to got on it every now and again. I was on it recently and a side bar suggested I should join a group called “Get Methylisothiazolinone Removed From Products!”. It sounded interesting so I clicked on it and thought no more about it.
Some time later somebody messaged me. This was quite a revelation in itself. I didn’t know that Facebook had a messaging system. But it does, so I had the fun of working out how that worked. The person was from the group which I thought I had joined. It turned out that she was one of the admins and she was deciding whether I should be let in or not. The first question was to ask me why I wanted to join. This seemed an odd thing to ask, but I said I was a cosmetic chemist and a blogger with an interest in MI.
She then asked me if I or a family member actually had a reaction to MI. When I said I didn’t she told me that the group wasn’t suitable for me.
Well now I was interested. What kind of group would turn down somebody with an interest in a subject because they weren’t the right kind of person. I wondered if they had read my blog and didn’t like what I was saying. So I asked if everybody was asked the same questions when they tried to join. The person messaging me was evasive. I asked the question several times, but got nowhere.
So this is all very curious. The name of the group implies that it is running some kind of campaign. Get Methylisothiazolinone Removed From Products! An exclamation mark and all. It sounded like a pretty plain statement of intent. And yet when somebody who might be expected to at the very least have some kind of knowledge of the matter shows up, they don’t want me to join. And in fact they have a screening process to keep the wrong kind of people out.
Now as I know very little about this group apart from the name and that it has at least one officious gatekeeper, I can’t really say very much. Are they basically just not very keen on listening to opposing viewpoints? Or was the person I was talking to just following a standard procedure that they have adopted to keep out people who aren’t focused on what they are interested in? Or is the group looking for people they can sell something to. That last one would explain why the last person they would want to join would be someone who blogs about the subject.
That last explanation would be consistent with something that she said a couple of times, which was that she was happy to answer any specific questions I had about the allergy. There are always people who look at problems as opportunities, and people with an MI allergy certainly have a problem that they would be likely to be prepared to hand over cash to help solve. But I think that often the motivation in a support group isn’t financial but emotional. It is quite a nice feeling to help someone out. Seeking people out who need help and helping them, well there are worse things to do with your life. I wonder if the people behind this group believe that they have some kind of insight that qualifies them to support people with a nasty allergy? And does that give them a warm fuzzy feeling? In which case the last thing you want is anyone in the group who actually knows much about the subject.
But I don’t know. If anyone has any experience of this Facebook group I’d be interested to hear about it.