Facebook Groups, The Dark Side

Over at BarLife Headquarters we love a Facebook Bartender Group, but we have noticed a disturbing trend of late.

These days most cities across the UK which have a half decent cocktail scene have a Facebook group to support it. These groups are a fantastic tool to promote events, competitions, jobs, items for sale and, of course, ask for advice, tips, and general bar geekery. Facebook-better

It is this final group of uses that has recently got our heckles up. Before we get into this let us be clear that these incidents are very definitely in the minority. Daily the likes of the London’s LBA, Manchester’s B.O.M.B., Bristol’s BCW etc are amazing resources for bartenders of all levels (as well as keeping the Acronym Royal Society of Experts busy).

However it seems that some people in these groups have decided that they are superior to others, have forgotten that there was a time when they didn’t know everything ever and concluded the best way to show this is to belittle those asking for help.

The posts that seem to mainly get this treatment tend to be along the lines of ‘How do I make…..?’, ‘What is the best recipe for….?’, ‘Does anybody know where I can find….?’. Invariably they are from young/inexperienced bartenders starting off their careers, often in bars which don’t focus on cocktails and lack experienced members of staff to train someone keen to improve themselves.

They find these groups, groups full of experienced and knowledgeable bar folk and, understandably, decide that this is the place where they can find help. However what they, occasionally, receive is nothing short of abuse, of bullying.

Sure it might seem funny, a quick laugh at someone you’ll never meets expense, a harmless dig, but the problem is it often isn’t. Our industry has many flaws, unsociable hours, shit pay, abusive customers, the list goes on, however one of it’s great strengths is the community, the camaraderie and support.

It is an industry that is always on the look out for committed, keen, enthusiastic young talent to reinvigorate the pool. What the, admittedly, small minority in these groups are successfully doing is putting these people off. Where we should be nurturing and encouraging we are belittling and humiliating.

Our industry, as with any other, is going to have gigantic arse hat wearing jizz ferrets, that is a given. Everyone else’s job is to ensure they are shut down, not encouraged. It is a job that needs to be taken on by, not just the group administrators with their ability to block people from the groups, but also by all others members who can give the advice that is needed and ensure they know these ferrets are in the minority.

Let us reiterate that 99.9% of the time these Facebook groups are used for good and are a fantastic addition to the UK bar scene. That doesn’t, however, mean we should forgive the .1%.

Let’s show the love and if we must mock, let’s do it in private messages. At least only your mates will see you in your true light.