I am taking the day off on my blogs on Friday, out of respect for Stop Cyberbullying Day and in support of all of the work being done this week to shed light on the seedy underbelly of the internet. Thankfully, my experience with bullying in the blogging world has been minimal - a few scary comments here and there from some fetishists and just some plain ol troll-types, but nothing that has ever made me truly fear for my life. I have also had some fairly scary experiences with one real internet psycho - but that one was handled with minimal issue once I stood up to him. I have been online almost since the beginning and I have definitely seen all kinds. Truly awful and deranged people do exist, both in the virtual world and in the “real world,” and things like what happened this week with beloved educator and blogger Kathy Sierra really make me want to step back and think about what I am doing. Her online persona is similar to mine - we try not to be too provocative and certainly bend over backwards not to offend anyone. You know my name, I live in a small town, and you could easily find all of my contact information online if you wanted to. I don’t really hide it, and in fact, it is really out there, as I encourage people who have been dealing with MRSA to get in touch with me any way they find convenient. Is this wise of me? Where do we draw the line between being open and honest, and putting ourselves out there for the psychos?
I wish Kathy the best, and she sure has my support, along with a tremendous amount of people. Freedom of speech has a price, unfortunately some pay a steeper price while the rest of us just reap the benefits. Join the Stop Cyberbullying group at Ning if you are interested in joining an organized effort.
If you are unaware of the story, my friend Jim at One by One Media has an exceptional series of posts that will get you up to date (Part 1 | Part 2). Be careful out there, both in the real world and online, keep your eyes open and for goodness sakes, if you are one of those people that have to boost yourself up by bringing others down, realize that is a problem and do what you need to do to fix it. You will be a much happier person, and I would venture to say, so will everyone else around you.
Thanks to Scott McLeod for the images - and to everyone else helping bring this issue to the forefront, and Kathy, you are certainly in our prayers. I will be back with all the latest from my super sweet eBeauties sometime over the weekend. Take care out there!