How Social Media Changes Things – Online Bullying, Mean Girls, and Cowards!

31 Mar

Today, I got harassed on Formspring.me. Ever seen the movie “Mean Girls?” Yeah, it was like that. As one of my Twitter friends called it; it was a “jealous high school cheerleader rant.”

Sure, by having profiles on Facebook and Twitter, Formspring, Gluten Free Faces, LinkedIn, and other social networking sites, in addition to developing this blog and writing for various others, I am certainly “putting myself out there” and “setting myself up” for this childishness.

Does that mean that I, or anyone, deserves it? No. I still am baffled.

I got some nasty, mean, malicious, and hurtful messages in my Formspring inbox this evening. From 2 days ago, they told me that I am ugly with bad hair, my blogs are terrible and not going anywhere, that I complain about my illnesses too much, and that I am shallow, whiny, and self-absorbed. (Oh, and they also dissed on Pittsburgh, wondering why I’d write a blog called Glitzburgh when Pittsburgh is not a big city and is never going to be?)

I cried for a little bit, because I am nice to everybody, and I didn’t feel I did anything to deserve it, and thus, it hurt my feelings. I treat people with kindness and respect, and go out of my way for others. I’m always very conscious of, and aware of, other people’s feelings – more than most people I know – and  I would do anything for my loved ones. I’m rather analytical and on the deep side….but, apparently, to my little online frenemy, I’m shallow. (Maybe because I decided to do this type of entertainment blog for fun? Because I like clothes? I don’t know. They said I’m shallow, but obviously not shallow enough to do anything about my “horrible 1990’s hair.”)

Nonetheless, after I shed a few tears (hey, it all hurt me pretty badly!) I did what I do best: thought about it, and wrote about it.

I’m writing about it now; and I vented a bit on Facebook. It is simply how I deal with my feelings. But what it really made me ponder was how social media and the Internet changes things.

Sure, girls could be mean in middle school, but you almost always found out about it, and who said it, etc. Online, people can hide on anonymous message boards, or under fake accounts on various websites. Sure, maybe I, as a blogger and a fan of social networking, am putting myself out there.

But, what about young kids? Are kids in middle school and high school getting harassed even more now, with the invent of social media and all of it’s various apps? If I, a mature, emotionally sound, 26 year old, had such a reaction to this cruel and spiteful messages, how would a 14 year old girl react? I‘m old enough to realize that people can be two-faced. It is why I, for a long time, had trouble trusting people. It is hard not to be suspicious when there is so much backstabbing.

I know that not everyone is kind, though. I also know that some people never mature, or “grow up” even as they grow older. I also know that people who go out of their way to hurt others, are somehow hurting themselves.

Does a teenager or “tween” know this? When I was in high school, AIM was the big thing. Now, there are so many ways for kids to be mean online, without ever having to confront their target face-to-face. I worry now about online bullying, only for the sake of younger kids.

I hope that their parents are educating them that these “mean people” and “cyber bullies” have no life of their own, and that meanness is almost always a result of hurt or some unfulfilled void. (Mine had to have been someone I knew – in fact I have a few suspects haha – and I wouldn’t say that I have a bully per se, but, same type of thing….)

I am happy with my life and with who I am, and after the initial shock, I’m over it. I mean, it still hurt, and I’m still appalled – at a loss for words, almost – about how a person could be so mean, but, I’m over it. I just hope that other people do not let this type of  ridiculousness get them too down in the dumps.

As for whoever wrote it to ME – I cordially invite you to come forward! Why hide behind Formspring if you have such strong feelings? Don’t be a coward, have the courage and maturity to come clean! I welcome it and look forward to hearing from you, since you have so much to say!

Since you knew so much about my life and my writing, I’m sure you’re a fan and will find a way to contact me   🙂

After all, you aren’t emotionally involved enough to be hateful or hurtful unless you know someone or have some sort of connection, so, I’m curious to see who you are and what I ever did to you. Let’s work it out!

xoxo,

Ashley

glitzburgh@gmail.com

RESOURCES FOR PARENTS: For more information on online bullying:

http://www.besafeonline.org/English/bullying_online.htm

http://www.businessweek.com/careers/workingparents/blog/archives/2009/03/facebook_twitte.html

6 Responses to “How Social Media Changes Things – Online Bullying, Mean Girls, and Cowards!”

  1. Slamdunk March 31, 2010 at 12:20 am #

    Hang in there. I would guess that most of it is related to jealousy. That is how it usually works.

  2. Aubrey March 31, 2010 at 8:30 am #

    Great post and great outlook Ashley! Just this morning the Today show did a segment about internet trolls and the horrible things they say to and about people. I cannot fathom what goes through someone’s mind that allows them to be so hateful. Just know that you are a beautiful woman, inside and out, and it’s obvious from this post that you are incredibly brave and kind. Great example of being the bigger person in a conflict!

  3. secret agent l April 3, 2010 at 4:36 pm #

    oh, sweetie..i am so sorry to hear this happened to you. i’m in the public eye in my non-secret agent life, and i get ridiculed and made fun of too. it’s no fun. but what people have told me–people i love, respect, and trust–is that those who say mean things and behave badly are not people worth focusing any of my energy on. and i’ve realized how true that is. focus on the people who love and respect you–focus on what they think of you, which, i’m sure, is all very good stuff. 🙂

    you’re beautiful, by the way.

    hang in there. continue to be kind, continue to choose the higher road, continue to spread love and sincerity wherever you go. that will just enhance the beautiful soul you are already.

    xoxo,
    secret agent l

    • glitzburgh April 3, 2010 at 11:34 pm #

      “Secret Agent L” – first off, I’ve told you before how much I love your blog and respect what you do. (In fact, adding you to my Blogroll momentarily!) Secondly, thank you so very much for the kind words. I have gotten so much love and support despite my “online troll”, naysayer, internet stalker-friend, whatever you want to call him/her. They wrote more mean things after I posted this blog, but, I truly don’t care. I only ask that they use proper grammar from now on…..tehehehe. Thanks again for your sweet comment and have a fabulous and blessed Easter! Hugs, Ashley // Glitzburgh

  4. Sarah J. April 4, 2010 at 8:13 pm #

    It is hard to believe that people can be so cruel. The sad thing is it happens all the time. These people who are malicous are simply haters. They hate their life and want others to feel their anguish. They are jealous of everything and everyone usually for no apparent reason. Sorry you had to be the one they decided to hate this week. You seem to be a wonderful person who is talented and beautiful. Keep your head held high.

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