After a few days of witnessing an eye watering display of online bullying, I felt the need to write a paragraph or two in support of other small businesses who may be suffering this new phenomenon.
Bullying statistics have shown that cyberbullying is a serious problem among teens and can take many forms.
Below are the most common complained about forms of cyberbullying (by adolescents)
- Sending mean messages or threats to a person’s email account or cell phone
- Spreading rumours online or through texts
- Posting hurtful or threatening messages on social networking sites or web pages
- Pretending to be someone else online to hurt another person
- Taking unflattering pictures of a person and spreading them through cell phones or the Internet
It has been proven to lead to anxiety, depression, and even suicide as, sadly once things are circulated on the Internet, they may never disappear, resurfacing at later times to renew the pain of cyber bullying.
Many Cyber bullies admit to feeling superior and even worse, some do not even realise what they are doing is harmful or hurtful. They may not think about the effects their behaviour has.
The worst effect has been shown to be suicide amongst teens / children who have been victim to this behaviour.
So why is Rocoja posting about Cyberbullying?
I have witnessed over 2 days this week one of the worst cases of cyberbullying I have ever seen. If it had been children or young adults on Twitter for all to see, it would’ve been easy to deal with. A quick phone call to the police and a quick “report” to Twitter & hopefully Job-done. BUT this was instigated & whipped to fever pitch by a group of supposedly “professional” adults.
My involvement? Why did I see it…? I have helped a small business this month, I have set up a Twitter account for them & they proudly have a whole 50 followers (achieved in 2 weeks).
However let’s be clear, this is not a thriving conglomerate, contributing to world collapse. This is a small business in a niche industry starting out on Social Media.
On Wednesday, out of no-where, a group of professionals in the same business arena as the SME began to take screenshots of their new website, picking at grammar & wording.
They began to post it on Twitter with quotes such as
“You Are NOT regulated” – Which is correct & the business never purported to be.
“Young Director – Rolls eyes” – How is age relevant?
“This company is enticing people to them” – Well yes, that’s what all companies do.
“Are they even legal, Shouldn’t they be authorised or something” – ????
“Dick Turpin Outfit” – ???
“Shut down now” -????
“Post your qualifications” -???
All of which is designed to engender mistrust & angst.
I responded (to help the company out, as I was appalled) maintaining a pleasant and professional manner, asking the obviously concerned writers to contact the company Director to discuss any issues – I also asked for advice on what exactly the perpetrators had an issue with. Which was declined.
Overall on Wednesday there were over 120 Tweets naming the small business & adding in phrases designed to engender mistrust from anyone who could see this.
Also the 6-7 Tweeters were copying in the regulatory body for their profession & were even saying things like “SME X is being investigated” etc. etc.
Overall, Wednesday was a very sad day….. But it finished & I went to bed after my physio session feeling exhausted just from re-reading the whole thing, in case there was anything the SME could’ve done differently..
This morning, I popped on my computer, but I am faced with more abuse… some of which is aimed at ME personally.
Somehow these “professionals” have found my personal Linked in profile & felt they have a right to name me & post my profile online again with tweets worded to engender mistrust.
Gems such as
“Bless her – she’s earned her money today” – Condescending & very wrong.
“I’ve trawled LinkedIn & I can see her Flower name & Football expertise????” – Condescending & rude.
“This “lovely” looks after their Twitter” (and Posted my personal profile) – Totally uncalled for.
“Where does she stand on this – is she Dupe or Accomplice” – To what?????
Now I’m a big brave girl, I’ve been through the wars (Not a story I share so don’t ask) and no one scares me. However rudeness and people being unsupportive & downright bullying makes my blood boil.
Again the regulatory body for their profession was copied in on the tweets aimed at “Twitter shaming” & cyber-bullying me personally. Again the inference was the SME & myself are now under some sort of investigation thanks to these Superhero Twitter Battle-forces of good & righteousness……
So, me being me, I meet this head on & picked up the telephone – something these “professionals” seem to be unable to do as all the keyboard warrioring has obviously affected that ability!
I call their regulatory body & speak to the department running their Twitter.
I speak immediately to a very professional lady.
SHOCK – NO this body of true professionals HAS NOT engaged with any of the Super-Hero Battle Forces & indeed has been watching these events in a very saddened state as their industry already has an awful reputation & to see so called professionals rip into a SME without a thought of a kind word of advice or helping hand has just underlined everything that’s wrong with it.
She also stated that at NO point in the 2 days of Tweets have they replied, mentioned, engaged at all with any of it – as it is so unprofessional & indeed the naming & mickey taking of my personal details was a very low low!
This regulatory body cannot stop being tagged in Tweets but has assured me they have taken a very dim view of what’s been happening & if I wanted to take it further, they have taken copies of the whole engagement.
As I stated when this started (on behalf of the SME) the gang of 6-7 could have contacted the governing body & raised a complaint if they had real misgivings, or they could have issued advice to a new business on social media, helpfully assisting the UK economy by amending grammar & wording instead of completely trashing their industry by belittling not only a new business but a disabled woman who runs a charity from her home.
I deliberately haven’t mentioned any of the people involved as
- It’s so low & unprofessional I cannot bring myself to do it.
- I’m doing a massive Charity event in 3 weeks for the Armed Forces and I know some of the Twitter Super-Hero gang were ex-military & I am sure my friends in the forces would be very vocal if they think I’ve been upset.
- At least 2 of the perpetrators were women & I am so very upset by this fact alone, as we need more women in senior positions in industry & business. BUT all the while some ladies feel the only way they can look better is by taking the micky out of another female’s name I despair that we will ever be treated as anything more than a joke in the workplace.
Bullying is never right – not at home, not at school & most definitely not online.
Just because the screen offers you protection from being seen, it doesn’t give you carte blanche to trawl and troll.
Its also extremely worrying that the bunch I have jokingly labelled the “Super-Hero Twitter Battle Force” are actually Tweeting (and I quote verbatim) “This is the future. A small band of Twitter vigilantes taking down unregulated scammers”.
It would also appear from that, they have appointed themselves judge, jury & executioners on small businesses encroaching on their “twitter turf”. I know this not only from my own rather horrible experience, but because a very quick peek into their timelines shows myriads of such viciously worded tweets – all judging & lambasting other businesses & individuals.
Such gems as (again all verbatim) – “If I get a sidearm & licence to kill, I’m in!”; “implies the possibility of competition. I feel no such insecurity”; “Quiet in the cheap seats. The Royal Air Force has it covered old man”; we are “The Terminators!” & “He does exist. This is the man 👍🏽👍🏽” (the last one is particularly businesslike as it accompanies a picture of portly naked gentleman, which Im assuming the 5 people in the Twitter gangare inferring is the owner of the small business they are annihilating online for sport.
This experience has worried me that far from addressing the issues of online bullies, we have just pushed it further up the age range / business ladder.
Prove me wrong?
Next time you see a small business starting out and you are not happy with something they say or do & you are up the ladder further than them, don’t kick them off – reach down & help them.
Can you? Are you that person?
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