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The Joys of Anonymity of the Internet

The internet has done so many wonderful things: it has shrunk the globe, made information readily available and it has given companies and individuals a great way of marketing and communicating, in a much more efficient and effective manner.  However, it has also given a lot of creeps an opportunity to come out from under their rocks.

When I first started SheerBalance.com, my goal was to help people…to help people find balance in their every day hectic lives.  Nothing more, nothing less.  When I started my blog, however, this changed the dynamic.  I put myself out there, gave the brand a voice and started to provide opinions on things that I thought were either relevant or thought provoking.  Not only did this increase traffic exponentially to the main site (which is obviously a good thing), but it also gave people a person  with whom to identify.  For the most part, I’ve been really fortunate.  I’ve gotten great feedback, heard some interesting perspectives and have had thought provoking dialogue with many individuals.  I have had people agree with me, disagree with me, debate with me, etc.  All good in my mind, for without questioning or debate, we rarely have progress.  But with all of this good-stuff also comes the seedier side of the internet.

As a result of my blog, I have seen individuals who are rude, inappropriate and disrespectful.  Unfortunately, the anonymity of the internet brings out the worst in a lot of people.  The irony of it all is that those who are most rude and obnoxious, never put themselves out there to actually say anything on their own.   They RARELY, if ever, have any blogs themselves.  They only criticize and degrade others.  Thank goodness for comment filters!

In short, having an anonymous outlet with which people can state their minds, enables abusive and disrespectful behavior.  It is truly pathetic.  Over the last year these are some of the delightful things that I have had the pleasure of putting up with:

  1. Pet Names: Warm fuzzy names, including: Bigot, B_tch, f_ckin idiot, and more.
  2. Sex Changes: Perceptive individuals who think I’m a man, calling me a ‘chode’ (which I actually had to look up in the internet dictionary), a gay pr_ck, a d_ck, and other colorful terms.
  3. Legal Counseling: “Legal assistance” from anonymous individuals who spend lots of time finding remotely similar articles and topics and have been kind enough to accuse me of plagiarism.
  4. Private Investigation: “FBI wannabes” checking out my credentials and telling me that I could never go beyond an undergraduate degree and will never make more than 40K.
  5. Expert Opinions: Individuals pointing out that I have no relevant experience or knowledge to discuss any of the topics that I do.
  6. Open-Mindedness: Individuals telling me that I have no right to my opinion.
  7. Constructive Critics: Written paragraphs upon paragraphs complimenting me on how useless my articles are and that I’m stupid; and sometimes will even be so kind to correct my grammar and spelling.
  8. Pen Pals: I’ve been emailed directly and verbally abused via individual’s rants.
  9. Crushes: I’ve been stalked on Facebook.
  10. Strategic Partnerships: And, although I would never say that this is email abuse, I once received a HUGE package from the President of the Corn Refiners Association, containing every lab result, every piece of data, and every piece of positive press coverage that they ever had, asking me to have an “open mind” about High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Going into this business, I never really thought I’d have to develop a thick skin, but I guess I was overdo.  In all honesty, I probably benefited greatly.  So on behalf of all bloggers and internet media companies, I’d like to thank all of the anonymous internet bullies.  You really brighten our days!  Keep up the good work!

Have you ever been subjected to mean and inappropriate behavior over the internet?  How have you dealt with it, if at all?

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Posted in Brett's Blog, Mind-Body Tagged with: , ,