The other day a man I didn't know eavesdropped my conversation in a cafe and labelled me a "schizophrenogenic mother" in a tweet. A term I had to google as I didn't know what it meant. How did I find out? Here's the story.
I had arranged to meet a colleague in a local cafe to discuss an area of mental health work I'm involved in. As we chatted I noticed an older man sitting near us, listening to our conversation, in particular to what I was saying. Our meeting went on a while. We got up to leave and this man intervened, introducing himself to me, my colleague left and then the man proceeded to tell me his name and all about his past achievements in Scotland's mental health world. He didn't ask for my name.
As he spoke I realised that he was annoyed at what I'd been saying in my conversations with a colleague, in particular the references to an organisation that he used to lead. He also gave his opinion on various matters in Scotland's mental health world although he now lives in Europe. It was interesting to hear his take on things although I didn't agree with much of what he said. However he wasn't interested in my opinions.
He ended the conversation, saying he had to go to the toilet, and shook my hand. I went out to my car and immediately googled his name to verify his identity, and came upon his twitter account. Where there were three tweets written about me from when he eavesdropped our conversation.
The tweets were negative, the last one calling me a "schizophrenogenic mother". I immediately responded by saying: "heard that (his name) good to chat and hear your story". Shortly after the tweets were all deleted.
Which goes to show that you have to be very careful in using social networking when ignorant of the circumstances or to vent annoyance. There's no excuse for badmouthing women even if they are strangers, especially if you're going to make their acquaintance shortly after.