Odd ones

 

A few weeks ago an incident happened that has happened many times before to me on social media, I was hit on by a complete stranger. They seem to all go to the same school of charm, as the same phrase is always used. I was told yet again “Btw (by the way) your profile photo is really sexy”. This always makes me roar with laughter as my profile photo is usually one of my dogs. I hate having my photograph taken and I rarely post photos of myself unless it’s of me with ptosis The men that use this phrase clearly don’t actually look at the profile picture they are sending this crap out to or they really do need glasses!

I suppose Frankie could look sexy if you were into that kind of thing LOL!

My husband had no idea how often this happens to me, I simply hadn’t bothered to tell him. I am probably like most women, so used to this crap that it really doesn’t bother me anymore. I might find it creepy some days but I usually send the person back quite a rude response and immediately block them so I can have no further dialogue with them. Due to my position as an admin on a Facebook group, I have to set my messages so that I can receive them from anyone. Facebook naturally filters them for me into people I am friends with, those messages go straight into my inbox and people I don’t know come up as message requests. Thankfully I can preview these without the other person knowing, so that should I wish to I can decline them.

 

However a few weeks ago I had the same issue with “your profile picture is very sexy” but this time it wasn’t a stranger, out of the blue. No this was during a serious conversation I was having with an admin from another group. I had contacted this admin as a favour as I had joined his group only to see that there was an ex member of the group I admin in there. This member had been removed due to his aggressive and confrontational / rude behaviour and I could see that he was up to his old tricks in this new  group. As a favour I thought I would give this admin the heads up. Oh how I wish I hadn’t, the conversation started up normally enough and then out of nowhere came the creepy statement. All respect I had for this gentleman left me right there, why would you do that ? and why on earth would you think that was ok?

 

Why is it that men seem to think that the internet is just another way to be pervy to women? What did this man, let’s call him Chris think I was going to say after he told me my profile picture was very sexy? “Oh thank you kind sir, let’s run away together?” At the time I just said “erm thanks the photo is of my dog’s nose” I exited the conversation quickly after that and I am happy to say he hasn’t contacted me again.

 

Now if he did this to me and he barely knows me, literally we are in the same health issue group, what is he doing to women in the group he helps run? Women who he knows are vulnerable, to me that is the behaviour of a predator. Unfortunately it’s not the first time I have heard about a male admin or husband’s of an admin taking advantage of their position to gain sexual satisfaction. It really brings it home to you that you should never blindly trust someone on the internet, I am always quite cautious but even I have had occasions where I have let my guard down and been punished for it. However it is usually females that take advantage of me, by monopolizing my time, asking highly personal questions and then when I tell them that I won’t answer that question, I have had them get extremely nasty with me or make out that I am taking offence for no reason.

 

The male pervs I can deal with, as I say they normally get a special message back from me. It’s the females I find incredibly difficult to deal with, sometimes it can take me years to  stand up to them. I never divulge things I don’t want to, I won’t be bullied into that. I seem to attract the ones who are emotional vampires, who are in competition with me as to who really is the sickest them or me.  Anyone who knows me knows that I really don’t fucking care who is the sickest it’s not a game I play. They are the ones that only ever talk about themselves and when you look back at the messages you have from them you see that they rarely ever ask you how you are doing.

 

I write a blog, I give information away freely it’s something I chose to do.I also control the information that I share. I also understand that people will contact me as part of that. 99 times out of 100 I have no problem at all with the people who contact me and I am more than happy to help whenever I can. The downside is even though my blog audience is pretty small by the grand scheme of things and my page only has a hundred or so followers on

Facebook. I do seem to attract more than my fair share of weirdos. I have been asked for money, I have been asked if I want to join an investment schemes but the ones that really get my goat are the ones that steal my time. They are the ones that message me incessantly for days on end, that claim to be big fans of my blog but the questions they ask prove time and time again they’ve never read it. They are also the ones that claim to know all about my illnesses, yet the things they say prove they don’t. I try so hard to be polite and kind to  everyone I encounter online but some people think that gives them the green light to walk all over me or to ask deeply personal questions. When I point out that I won’t answer the question and why, I am belittled through mocking apologies. Yet when I stand up for myself and tell these people to sling their hooks I am the one left feeling bad about it. I just can’t win.

 

Some of these encounters make me want to just shut down all my social media accounts and run away. But then I think to myself why should I be the one to suffer? All I have ever done with my blog is try to tell my story and hopefully help others who maybe at a different stage of the journey. The majority of my online encounters are lovely it’s just the odd one or two that leave me with a bad taste in my mouth. It’s the odd ones with a problem not me!

 

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Cyber bullying – its not just a young person’s game

When people talk about bullying the majority of us automatically think of schoolyard abuse / scuffles but with the explosion of the internet over the last few years bullying has taken on a whole new form.

I suffered at the hands of bullies as a child so it is something I feel strongly about. It seems that now bullying is so much easier with the internet and the explosion of social networking sites. If you call someone out on their behaviour more often than not they will claim they were only joking, that you shouldn’t take things so seriously. I have to ask the question would they be so brave to speak to you like that in real life? I would hazard a guess probably not.


Bullies can now get away with complete anonymity, if clever enough – some are quite dumb using their real names on open profiles! The assassination of your character can take place with a few strokes of the keyboard by people who dont know you. 


Its not just confined to young people anymore, bullying seems to be on the rise. Just look at any celebrities twitter stream, the abuse is rampant. Pop your head above the parapet, stick up for what you believe in and you will find yourself in the trolls crosshairs.  As I found out when I dared to complain about the waiting time for spinal surgery at the hospital my mother attends.

I am a 40 year old woman not a child and I have found some peoples behaviour online deeply offensive and upsetting. Unfortunately that was the person’s sole aim. What I really dislike are the passive aggressive trollers who lurk on your contacts list whose main purpose in life is to bring you down. They don’t last long on any of my accounts. 

I don’t delete without warning unless I have been really annoyed and several private chats have been ignored. I give far too many chances to people who really don’t deserve them and end up being drawn into the vicious cycle of niceness, followed by putting the boot in.


 I am endeavouring to get my head around the fact why some people feel the need to turn into nasty keyboard warriors. I am all for a good debate but too easily online it can turn into a bitchfest at best and outright threatening behavior at worst. I have been quite lucky so far although I have sometime been shocked at the sheer vitriol spewed by some towards me, I have never felt personally threatened. 


I also struggle to understand why such nastiness gains such support amongst other people who seem to engage in a herd mentality picking someone off on the “facts” provided by one person. Who does that and why? It seems independent thought is something only a few people possess these days.


The saddest thing of all is it seems to be grown woman who seem to indulge in this pastime more than anyone else. In an age where women have advanced in the world reaching new heights in business and education, there seem to be some women who enjoy nothing more than tearing other women down. What drives these people to attack others jealousy, insecurity? I dont believe that anyone is born nasty its something they develop due to their environment. In all honesty I feel terribly sad for them.


People seem to be very quick to jump on the bandwagon without stepping back first and assessing all the facts. If you didn’t witness the event and have no evidence to prove what someone is saying, then shouldnt it be taken with a pinch of salt? Individuals seem to throw caution to the wind with the statements they make online, that can never be retracted.


Its very difficult to hide from an online bully, you block them from all your online profiles and they set up multiple accounts to catch you out and post abuse. I am tired of the cat and mouse aspect of it all. I see multiple accounts as almost an indication of a multiple personality. 


I am not alone in facing abuse online, friends of mine have been hounded off social media by people they considered “friends” or contemporaries simply because their views did not fit in with how the other person sees the world. I have been deleted and blocked by people simply because of my political beliefs. I have had the same treatment because I am friends with people the other person doesn’t like. Surely the question is “wouldn’t it be a boring old world if we all held the same beliefs and opinions?”


It also falls into the realm of censorship, you stop posting / tweeting things because you are scared of the reaction it will provoke. I am all for free speech as long as it does not incite hatred towards other individuals or groups. However I have noticed myself hesitating from posting about my illness on my main facebook page due to negative messages I have received. I now keep my “moaning” (as it was described by someone I considered a dear friend) to my Myasthenia Kid page because the people that follow that really want to know how I am doing. 


I do believe its wrong to feel the need to sanitise what you want to post / tweet just because of a few individuals. I am not alone in this I have had friends attacked for posting about a bereavement, having cancer or simply wanting to express their honest opinions about a subject close to their hearts. There are still subjects that I censor myself on why? If its my page / account why do I have to be afraid if its something I believe in?


It seems to me that the internet has encouraged those who seek power by destroying others. It is as if we haven’t evolved from the playground at all. If this is how adults act towards each other what example are we setting for the next generation?