Jul 30, 2014, 06:52AM

The Internet Is Ruining My Hobby

Sea glass hunting is supposed to be peaceful.

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I’ve written a bunch about my random hobby: sea glass hunting. It’s where I find serenity in my nutty life: there’s nothing more peaceful than the time I spend kayaking and hunting for treasures on the beach.

You’d think the Internet would be a good place for people who have a sort of obscure hobby to get together and exchange photos, ideas, and information, right? And at first, it was. I searched the #seaglass hashtag on Instagram like a champ, finding new people to follow, liking their photos and learning about the origins of shards I’d found.

Pinterest is the most quiet sea glass social media feed- love it. I joined the sea glass hunting Facebook fan pages, enjoying seeing gorgeous pieces of multi-colored glass from England coming down my news feed. Then, something odd happened. One of the main fan pages on Facebook got downright bitchy. Sea glass hunters are mostly women, and I noticed some very heated exchanges going on between them.

What were they fighting over? What could they possibly be fighting over, when we’re all just supposed to love this hobby we share? Well, there are two areas of bitch-slapping that started up. In one, the women were fighting over beaches. Beaches. And whether or not they should be shared among beachcombers. It would go something like this: someone would post a picture of sea glass, and someone would comment and ask where they found the piece. Members of the group would then begin fighting over whether beach locations should be shared or not (there’s definitely some secrecy involved). I had an opinion on the matter, which is that if people wanted to share a beach location, they obviously could but they shouldn’t be forced to: many beaches are private property, so some people understandably don’t want to start putting addresses on Facebook. I didn’t share my opinion, because I didn’t want to get 193 notifications of responses/likes.

In a massive sea glass argument that raged for days, comments included “get over yourself,” “what I will do is block you,” “stop throwing a fit,” and accusations of bullying (yes, actual bullying) as well as this accurate comment: “this group is no longer fun because of all the drama crap.” The other area of contention was that people were accusing others of being rude in not supporting new sea glass hunters who simply pick up broken shards of glass on the beach, take a picture of them, and call them sea glass. So there were calls of snobbery in addition to selfishness and finally one day I just stopped getting any notifications from the group, because I already graduated from middle school. I still belong to a number of drama-free sea glass pages I enjoy following.

You don't want to spend too much time in sea glass Facebook groups, period. Better to just put down your phone or get off the computer and head out to the beach.


Find Mary McCarthy's sea glass finds on Instagram.


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