Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Transparency shouldn't come with a price...

I can't remember the last time I blogged twice in one day. But this one was important to me.

I had something happen this week that's shook me up a bit.

Before I get into it, I want to explain what I mean by "transparency". In my weight loss journey, I've learned that it helps me, and the people going along the journey with me, if I'm as honest and open as possible. It helps me learn things about myself and it helps others identify with my journey so they can grow in theirs. I can't tell you how many times I've heard "that really inspired me" or "thanks for being so vulnerable, I can totally relate" or "your honesty has helped me work out my own issues", etc. So I've tried to be as transparent as possible in every walk of my life, not in just blogging. No holding anything back.

Well, it backfired a bit on me this past week.

You might know that I'm an avid Twitter-er. I tweet about absolutely everything. Conversations between me and my daughter. Comments on idiots driving in traffic. My favorite movies. I'll pass along professional resources I've found. Jokes. Funny thoughts that pop into my head. Bible verses. My struggles with weight loss from hour to hour. Stuff like that.

Well, So last weekend I just finished watching Breaking Bad and I was twittering about the show when I came across a comment Wil Wheaton had made that I thought was hilarious. First, if you don't know who Wil Wheaton is, he played Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation. He was the highly intelligent, geeky teenage son of the doctor. And in case you're not familiar with Breaking Bad, it's a new series staring Bryan Cranston, who was the father on Malcolm in the Middle, who plays a high school chemistry teacher gone bad. In fact, he's turned his knowledge of chemistry into manufacturing methamphetamines to raise quick cash to leave for his family as he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.

Okay, so Will Wheaton (geeky guy) says he loves Breaking Bad so much that he wants to guest star on it. So I commented back to him, retweeting his original comment, saying it would be hilarious to see him as a drug lord. Stop for a minute to picture that. ... Well, I didn't realize it at the time, but his original tweet had profanity in it. A pretty bad one, in my book (god-d**m).

One more bit of information that's important to this story... I work for a Christian publisher and I state so in my twitter bio.

The next morning, someone had called me out on it and basically said 'how dare you retweet profanity when you represent your employer". I quickly apologized by saying I probably should have deleted the profanity before retweeting it but I'm human and I made a mistake. He didn't like my response. He said I sounded flip and arrogant and was obviously not sorry at all. He demanded an apology. I told him I didn't need to ask for his forgiveness, only God's.

He kept on publicly berating me saying very mean things about me and my character. The thing that really shook me up is that he talked like he knew the owner of the company I work for and he threatened to call him if I didn't apologize to his liking.

He went on for about a day and a half. All the while, I did not respond to any of his tweets. My silence only made him angrier and drew him to further outlandish conclusions. I still did not respond.

One thing he originally said was that he would have gladly direct messaged me (which only the 2 of us would have seen) but I didn't follow him so he couldn't. But I was following him. So my only conclusion was that he wanted this to be intentionally public.

So yesterday morning, I unfollowed him in an attempt to get him to leave me alone. He came back with a sharp comment saying something like 'fine, if that's the way you want to be, I'll have to take a different approach'. That really spooked me. What was this "different approach".

Everyone kept telling me he was a bully and to just ignore him. I did. But I made one last comment (3 tweets to him altogether). I told him I unfollowed him so hopefully he'd leave me alone.

Well, he didn't. In fact, he threatened to call the owner of the company I work for and he called him by name.

My husband got involved last night and tweeted back and forth with him trying to get him to back off. That didn't help. It just made him madder.

So you know what I had to do this morning? I had to go to the owner of the company and tell him my side of the story before this guy called him. I felt like a kid in school. The original offense was so lame and he (the owner) even asked me a couple of times "what does this have to do with me". I had to tell him that it doesn't, it's stupid. But I just wanted to bring it to his attention before this guy did so he'd be prepared.

So by me being transparent and stating my employer in my bio, I feel like I have to watch what I do in my tweets, now. I don't like being held back from being who I am. I'm not saying I condone cussing. In fact, I don't cuss and I find it very offensive. But now I feel like I have to watch to make sure that what I tweet won't offend the readers of the magazine I work on. I don't like that. I am who I am.

And on top of that, I feel like he's watching my every tweet just waiting for me to mess up. I think of him every time I tweet and wonder if he's reading this one. I feel like I'm being watched. I don't know how to get him out of my head. If feel violated almost. I just want my tweeting to be what it used to be... random and fun. Not cautious and precise.

P.S. I removed my the name of the company I work for from my twitter bio. I can't wait until "he" finds out. I'm sure he'll say something like "oh, so now you're hiding who you work for... isn't that a little like closing the barn door after the horse has run free?'. See, I feel so invaded.



screwdestiny said...

Uh, wow. What a dick. Sorry if that's offensive to you, but the name fits. So, I don't quite get it...was this guy terribly offended because he himself is a "Christian" and didn't like the re-tweeting of profanity? Because if he is, that is certainly a very un-Christian like thing that he is doing. Seriously, who acts like that? I thought we got over the tattle-tell mentality by the age of 10. But I guess some people never do? I guess they have such sad, pathetic lives that they have to try to start crap with others? Whatever, I'm sorry you have to deal with such a stupid person.

Verity Vaudeville said...

It just sounds like someone trying to get a reaction out of you, and realising that once they've got it, it won't take much to keep on getting that reaction.

So the main thing is to not rise to the bait first time round, and/or block said person if you can, and move on with using twitter as you see fit to.

Blue~ said...

What you must take on board is that everyone who follows you,does it because they like what you say, and knows that this guy is pestering you, they also know he is being unreasonable, almost stalking you, they can see what you see.

You made a mistake, you apologised, he is undoubtedly not what he purports to be - and he is threatening you just because he is getting a rise out of it. Thats what these folks do. Your best defense is to go about your tweeting in EXACTLY the same way as always. Write a blanket tweet to everyone informing them that you have preempted his threat and spoken to your boss already, you cannot and will not be threatened by him, and then remove all contact or block the guy...just dont engage with him in any manner. I am sure there are ways of doing that. If not, then just totally ignore whatever he says. There is no fun in it for him if he cant get a rise out of you and he will soon find some other unfortunate who will have to run the gauntlet that you have just experienced.


Tammy said...

I agree with Blue. Just ignore jerks like this, block them and move on. I had someone come after me and I just never responded and he gave up. You just can't give in to these folks. Face it, you really didn't do *anything* wrong -- this guy is just a loser trying to get to you.

F. McButter Pants said...

He's jealous. So jealous. Oh, and POWER hungry. You got to feel sorry for a guy like that, and his

You did the right thing. This will blow over. Maybe blowing him right out the door.

--cara said...

Screwdestiny, I know, that's exactly what I thought. His actions seemed very un-Christian like to me, too.

Verity Vaudeville, I thought about blocking him but after the reaction I got from him once I unfollowed him (which was the point when he said he'd call the owner) I was afraid to block him because who knows how mad that would make him or what he'd say to the owner. At some point I will block him, I just want to give it a while to die down some.

Blue & Tammy, I know I shouldn't have responded to anything he said, but I felt like I had to only because he mentioned my company and I had my company name in my bio. I thought if I didn't responded, he'd definitely cause some problems for my company. Bigger things have happened from much smaller things. I kept envisioning him taking it to the press or worse a "Letter to the Editor" of my magazine, which could really reek havoc for me. But I really wish I could have just ignored him.

I'm just mad now because I'm so cautious about my tweets now.

Diana said...

Oh Cara, that's horrible! What a creep and how scary for you. I'm so sorry.

My company has a policy, we're not allowed to say their name in any internet stuff. Well, we can say it, but Lord help us if we say anything bad about them. I'm extremely careful because of the horror stories I've heard (people have been fired for saying their opinion about the company, in a negative light, in their blogs or on Facebook).

Your company doesn't sound like the problem though, it sounds like a nut case out there on the internet just looking to cause trouble.

Have you thought of making your tweets private? Maybe just temporarily?

So sorry this happened to you, of all people. You're so sweet! Anyway, be careful and protect yourself.

spunkysuzi said...

All i can say is that he is definitely a bully! My work made everyone sign a statement that we would not mention their company or things that happen within their company!
Although i have a twitter account i really don't use it anymore.

On the Weight Loss Journey said...

Enough has been said in the earlier comments, so I won't rehash them.

However, this is a matter that you could take to the police and get their opinion, especially if he keeps bothering you. Do you know if he is in the same area?

Anyway, everyone makes mistakes and it sounds like you handled your retweet(?) just fine. Acknowledging the mistake and moving on.

NewMe said...

This man is mentally ill. Hopefully, if you remain silent he will eventually give up on harassing you. Unfortunately, he will probably go on to harass someone else.

MaryFran said...

Everything I needed to say has already been said (about the un-christian like attitude that HE was displaying and the fact that he is the one that has the problem).

But I will go on and say this......people like him are what gives Christianity a bad name....and that makes me sad!

Keep doing what you are doing.....I read your posts and I'm uplifted. Accidentally re-tweeting a profanity (of even doing it knowingly) does not take away from the radience that I see shining through you!

--cara said...

Diana, I've thought about making my tweets private, but I feel like that would give him some sort of happiness that he's effected me so much.

On The Weigh Loss Journey, my husband thought about taking it to the police. I'm pretty sure he's in the Orlando area because his twitter name has Orlando in it. And if he keeps going or causes me any more trouble, we definitely will take it to them to see what they can do.

New Me, yea, my husband noticed he was harassing someone else about a cuss word in a news story somewhere.

--cara said...

MaryFran, Thanks. That was sweet. You know I felt the same way about him when he first started coming after me as a "concerned Christian". He was giving us all a bad name. Proving the point of atheists and non-believers about the whole "holier than thou" thing. He thought he was being a good Christian by doing this, but he was really just making us Christians look bad. Sad is right.