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? :)


Unknown said...

thank you for doing this! I am so happy to be a part of it. Its true bullying whether its children or adults is a heart breaking situation and one we should all take steps to prevent.

melissa @ just one opinion

Matthew W. Turcotte said...

Thanks so much for hosting this blog hop! It's really awesome to see some of the different perspectives of other bloggers. And, yes, I totally agree. With the invention of Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, there's a lot of good things...but there's also a lot of bad. As someone who has been on the other end of online bullying, I understand all too well what you're saying. It's bad enough when kids bully kids, but adults really should know better.

Thank you and Katie again. :)

Amy said...

Thank you for putting together this blog hop. I really hope that it gets the attention it deserves, and helps people to see how horrible the bullying is. I am so glad that you have gotten so many people to sign up and spread the word.

Bookworm Lisa said...

Aim High #96 left a comment on my post asking to have her link removed. It is linked to goodreads. She said something about charity and I'm not sure what she was talking about. Anyway, thought I would pass it on.


Unknown said...

Thanks for this post that focuses on adults as bullies or as victims! I agree, we are predisposed to think kids when we think bullies, but it's true, it happens everywhere, to everyone. Also, thanks for hosting this event! I'm so pleased to see so many people taking part!

Courtney @ Fuzzy.Coffee.Books

Elena said...

Thanks for sharing =) These incidents having been going on and on since the first time I became a blogger.And it is disturbing,I wish people would look back at their hurtful comments and realize what they have done wrong and just cut the drama.

Like my parents always told me while growing up "If you don't have nothing nice to say,zip it and move on"

Here's our story

Gwenyth Love said...

Well said! Some of that author/reviewer bullying going on in the past little while affected me so badly I didn't have the heart to write a review for weeks. Bullying is not just against children, it involves everyone. Thanks for hosting this, and thanks for allowing me the opportunity to participate.

Patricia JL said...

This is an awesome blog hop, I'm glad to take part.

Faye (Daydreaming_Star) said...

This was a lovely post, and a brilliant idea! I believe whole-heartedly that there is possibly more adult bullies then there are kid bullies. We all just believe that when we grow up, we mature and have the decency to just move on, but that just simply isn't the case. Bullying is about 'one-upping' people. If you feel low and demoralised, what better way then to make someone feel lower and worse?

I don't know why anyone ever thinks this works but it happens all over and simply infuriates me.

With bloggers, as well as all the author/publicisist/blogger bullying that has gone on, it's smaller things like horrible comments or "criticism's" of people's reviews, like "this sucks, so you clearly suck". Don't judge until you know, yes?

Ummm.. realised I'm rambling in comment form, so I'm sorry. But yes, bullying is not nice and it needs to be known that it is not something that is okay to do.
Thank you for hosting this.

A Daydreamer's Thoughts

K.C. Neal said...

Thanks so much for your comments, everyone! I'm still reading through all the posts - I think it's going to take me a couple of days! - I really appreciate such wonderful participation!

Margie Gelbwasser said...

Thank you for starting this. There are so many people who have been bullied in one way or another. It's heartbreaking whether it's kids or adults.

SweetMarie83 said...

Very well said, KC. I, too, have noticed how comfortable people seem to be with being mean online. I think it's the anonymity - they can say whatever they want and remain faceless. Kind of cowardly, really. And it’s so sad, because the internet is such an amazing thing - we get to meet people we’d never normally meet in a million years, and we never even have to leave home. We should relish that, not make enemies just because we’ll never actually come face-to-face with most of the people we meet online.

Thank you so much for having this event. You're amazing! <3

PS - I know of an author who seems kind-hearted and helpful too, but god help you if you disagree with her...kind of makes me wonder if we're talking about the same person lol. ;-)

M. E. Franco said...

Thanks again K.C.! I am loving the other posts. I think it will take me a couple of days to get through them too :)

I was so happy to see such a great turn out even thought it breaks my heart to see how bullying has touched so many lives. But I am inspired by the stories of healing :)

Sophie said...

Some authors need to remember that they've requested a review not a biased promotion. This is what puts me off about reviewing smaller releases, as I worry about the maturity and the reaction of the person's book I'm reviewing. For this reason, I'm very selective these days. There's is NO good reason for bullying.

TC Avey said...

Good post, I agree that people shouldn't hide behind their blogs/twitter/facebook/etc and use them to hurt others. If you wouldn't say something to someones face you shouldn't feel okay printing it.