I recently read a post by Danielle of Blissful and Domestic that really annoyed me. A lot. To sum it up, she had received nasty e-mails and comments in regards to how she must hate her son because she post doesn't post enough pictures of him. Seriously? Since when is the number of photos you post of your friends and family a measure of your feelings about them? If that's the case, my husband must be the scum of the earth in my eyes in comparison to my dog!
I loved the comments she got to this post though, they were all very supportive and pointed out that said persons must not have much of a life if they feel the need to constantly put someone down. I've talked about this before here on my blog. I don't quite get the urge to be so mean to someone that you don't even know. Then I thought of a conversation I recently had with a family member, and it not only put things in perspective, but I think it's a great lesson in human behavior.
Her daughter is only 13, and is having to deal with the whole catty girlfriend issue. Some of it is ridiculous, and I think it's way worse than it was when I was that age. I guess it got pretty bad at one point, she was really down in the dumps about it. So bad that the mom actually went and talked to the school counselor about it, only to find out that the girl who was behind the catty behavior was notorious for this and this wasn't the first issue she'd had. After a long conversation with the daughter, she decided that this girl wasn't worth worrying about anymore. What happened afterwards was the best part though.
Once again, catty girl said something behind 13 year-old's back that made it's way around to her. She decided to confront this girl via a text message with the "if you have something to say to me or have a problem with me, have the guts to say it to my face." Then she took it a step further. The next day at school, she walked right up to the girl and said the same thing to her. What was interesting is that the girl was visibly scared, she said she was actually shaking. After she said her piece, she walked away, and she hasn't had an issue with her since. I suspect that no one has ever corrected or confronted the bully before. And that she is a very insecure person deep down inside which is why she does what she does. I hope perhaps this was a lesson for her as well. 13 year-old has moved on, and I was very proud of her for handling it the way she did.
The reason I bring this up is because it confirms something I've thought for a very long time about nasty comments on the internet. It's easy to hide behind a computer screen and make nasty comments about others when they can't retaliate. In this case I don't think that the catty girl thought anyone would ever come after her for what she said and she would continue to get away with it. She found out otherwise. I've seen some horrible behavior on the internet by others who I know don't think that they will ever be found out. Oh how wrong they are. Recently a very popular blogger that I used to follow has been outed as not being as "authentic and genuine" as she appeared to be, and the backlash is proving to be very interesting. Actress Ashley Judd was a victim of some horrible bullying on Twitter and she is pursuing legal action against some of these bullies. These are just two examples and I'm sure that there are plenty of others and many yet to come.
Let me just say that "hiding" behind the veil of the internet isn't a good idea. First off, it's cowardly, but second--you are going to eventually get caught. I recently had an incident on my other blog with someone trying to post a completely inappropriate comment. Then they tried to post a response to that comment, posing as someone else. What they didn't realize is that because of the nature of that blog and the large number of younger readers I have, most comments are automatically thrown into a moderation mode and those that aren't, I closely monitor. In addition, because of the software used with that particular blog, I was able to instantly detect that it was the same person posting both comments as well as where they were from, who their internet provider was and various other information that had I needed to, I could have turned over to law enforcement. You are NEVER anonymous on the internet, no matter what you think otherwise. Choose your words and actions carefully.
The blogger who I mentioned that was found out not to be who she claimed she was--all that information was discovered by some very savvy folks who found most of the information used to discredit this person via the internet. You can't hide forever. I'm sorry, but I just don't have the time or the need to make up a whole lifestyle just to impress people. It just isn't worth it. I wonder about those who do this kind of thing though, are they really that needy?
One last thing--to those who think that being "anonymous" when complaining about something is okay. Guess what? When I was working in my last job, if we got a letter or complaint from someone that wasn't signed, it went in to the trash. If you aren't going to be willing to "own" your words, in our eyes your opinion didn't count. Keep that in mind.