Because it looks like I have to spell everything out in really plain text, here we go:
Let’s say you write about a web community as an unbiased journalist; if the piece you wrote was an accurate reflection of the community, someone somewhere within the community would have something positive to say about your piece. Something like, “hi, thanks for writing this!” at least.
But what if ALL the feedback you receive from the community is negative?
Well, then you did something wrong, something got lost in translation. (Did anyone from the 1D Larry community say anything positive about the article? I looked and couldn’t find it.) We’re not talking about one or two trolls, we’re talking everyone had a problem with it.
Further, if feedback from said community uses words like “bullying,” “harassment” or “victimized,” how can you not realize you did something wrong? If it is minors saying it, well, …shit.
Whether you meant to bully or not does not erase the experience thousands of young women said they had. Did thousands of teens (tweens and 20 year olds too) secretly conspire and all agree that article you wrote about them made them feel ashamed of themselves and their internet activities? Was it all a grand conspiracy to accuse a journalist of wrongfully cyberbullying them? No, obviously not. These ideas must have come from somewhere, from somewhere in your post.
The writer of the post in question wrote of her piece, “It explicitly avoided shaming the practice of shipping Harry/Louis.”
If it explicitly “avoided shaming the practice of shipping Harry/Louis,” then why did the people in the community reading it take it that way? Are they just all making it up?
Again, I repeat so it sinks in: Just because you say it isn’t so does not make it so. Just because you said you didn’t bully or shame doesn’t mean anything if thousands of young women are crying about the words you wrote about them. Teens don’t casually accuse journalists of bullying or shaming them, and dismissing and denying their complaints comes off like you don’t respect them. Denying it does not make their trauma, their pain and frustration any less real, either.
It makes you look like you think they are crazy, at best.
Wait, they already think you think they are “crazy”…
Everyone is on the Internet now. Including your grandparents and children.
It’s a crazy digital world, and journalists covering the Internet literally go where no other writer has gone before. These journalists are on occasion making the rules up as they go, too.
These Internet writers hang out in weird fetish bars (think 4chan or Reddit) or peep in on journalists exchanging proverbial blows in a virtual newsroom (think a Twitter or Google+ debate).
Sometimes in their quest for a story, these writers even spy on teens gossiping in bathrooms about homoerotic sex, and because said teens don’t think anyone is listening they don’t bother locking the door. (In this particular case, that bathroom is Tumblr, and the privacy settings are off.)
Chicago’s Thrillist brought this new website to my attention today. You send an anonymous e-mail, complete with a cute-turned-gross animation to someone who pissed you off in an effort to “balance out the Karmic inequities that make the other 364 days of the year f***ing suck”. Bitchegg.com says:
It’s a way to feel like you’ve done something to stand up for yourself instead of collapsing like the spineless jellyfish that you usually act like.
(woah, way to insult your potential user!)
The website lets you make your own 200 character message, or if you lack creativity, offers 6 messages you can choose from. My favorite is: ” Your breath smells like I just walked into an old ladies vagina, who wipes from the front.” Very vulgar, I know. It made me chuckle. The 4 animations that go along with the message are a bit choppy and uncouth- and all involve the little birdie that is Bitchegg’s mascot. You can choose between the birdie being eaten by a whale, farting, vomiting, or pooping. It’s childish, and more hilarious in a real laugh-out-loud way than it is insulting. I wouldn’t send bitchegg to my enemies, but I think my friends would deserve it.
I guess I am old-school, but I don’t get the anonymous “cyber-bullying” and passive aggressive nature of site like this. Sending a nasty e-mail won’t make me feel better- standing up for myself in “real life” would. I want to look into the person’s eyes, and feel my palms sweat as my heart pumps adrenalin. It’s a more satisfying experience….I am no spineless jellyfish.