Friday, February 3, 2012
Spread Love, Not Hate: Grown-Ups, Behave
When Katie and I started talking about this event, I wasn't sure what to expect. I still can hardly believe nearly 100 people signed up to participate in Spread <3, Not Hate. I've had so many amazing comments here on the blog and on Facebook, and so many people helped spread the word on Twitter... it's a little overwhelming, really!
Thank you to all who signed up to participate - many of you are telling very personal stories about being bullied, and I truly appreciate your willingness to be so open about painful experiences. I think there's an element of isolation that often comes with being bullied, but when you tell your story, others who have been bullied know they're not alone. When you talk about how you got through it, and even learned something from it, you give other people hope. Thank you for that.
Now, on to my post.....
Grown-Ups, Behave Yourselves Online
I'm guessing that when many people think of "bullying" they think "kids." But lately, I've heard about several incidents of bullying in the author community. And in all cases the bullies were people well beyond their high school years. Katie's experience is one, and you know how I feel about that. Just in the past few weeks, I've witnessed and heard about authors, and in some cases the authors' agents, bullying reviewers and book bloggers who posted negative reviews of the author's book. Saying nasty things on Twitter, waging private campaigns to devalue the blogger, and even publishing mean blog posts in response.
You know that saying that goes something like, It's not about what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters? Well, first authors need to remember that a poor review is something that happened to a BOOK, not to the author as a person. If you as an author can not separate yourself enough from the product you created to handle poor reviews, you shouldn't be in the authoring business. And second, an unprofessional reaction to a poor review will gain much, much more negative attention than the bad review ever would have.
You know what really bothers me more than the lack of professionalism? The way people are so comfortable being mean online. It always makes me think of road rage, how somehow the buffer of a car and some asphalt makes people comfortable behaving in ways they probably wouldn't if they came face-to-face with the person they're road-raging at. The buffer of the internet seems to give people that same sense of comfort, and perhaps entitlement.
I've seen a variety of ways people get bullied online.
Some are cleverly disguised. One author I know of presents herself as a kind-hearted advocate of others, but if someone contradicts her opinion, she uses her platform and influence to try to bully the person who disagrees with her.
Some are very blatant, like when authors publicly slam bloggers who give their books poor reviews. But one thing I love about book bloggers is their sense of community. I've seen how they stand up for and support a fellow blogger who's being attacked by a disgruntled author. This is the way it should be. There's power in numbers, and when you band together in support, you're sending the message that it's NOT okay to pick on someone.
Regardless of the situation, to me it comes down to two things: One, before speaking to and about people online, image you're face-to-face with that person. Would you speak differently? And two, don't use your online platform and connections for evil.
Golden rule, right? :)
Labels: blog hop