Sideways Bullying in Social Media is going on. Does it affect you?
I have to write my story, in order for others to read, learn, recognize and become aware that there will always be someone who tries to run you off the road of life, or in this case Social Media. Recently I have had this experience which has me writing now. There have been many moments when I wanted to take a detour off that road just to avoid this person, I will call her Maggie, trying to bully, harass, and remove me from the streams of Social Media. I have remained focused on what I love and do in my communications and have tried to avoid the sideways comments. Here is my story.
Maggie called me up approximately eight weeks almost to the date of this blog post. She told me how wonderful and fabulous she is. She asked if I might come along to help her grow her business and so on and so forth. Prior to this call, we had not connected. We were not friends in Twitter. We were not friends on Facebook. Nor had she even been on my radar. Apparently I was on hers. She contacted a friend of mine and started asking questions about me. I was not aware of this until a few weeks later, when he and I compared notes, yet when she called me, she never told me this. She simply sent me a direct message through twitter saying she wanted to talk to me.
As a consultant it is not uncommon to get emails or messages like this. I get about 2-3 messages like this each week. I responded and we connected on a two hour phone conversation. As I do with every call I take I wrote down notes, asked questions and listened. “Maggie” began to share her status, her impressions in twitter. She wowed me with her following on Twitter. She said she had to unfriend a few people on Facebook to make room for me, her new “amazing” friend. She told me how companies were begging to have her time and be in her space, because as she said, “I am that good at what I do, and you hang around with me and I can take your company places it has not yet been.” Wow, I was impressed. However the logical part of me noted that this person really did not know what my company does, so to make a statement like that was nothing more than false flattery.
Within four weeks of knowing “Maggie” I learned that there were major integrity issues in how she presented and conducted herself in business and to people through Social Media. How she falsified information about her business. At the front end she appeared to communicate the ability to deliver opportunity, yet there was not one company putting money in her pocket. I asked “Maggie” the simple question of this, “If you are so amazing, can do all this, then why is it you are not sponsored, funded, or contracted out by several companies?” This is when this quick start to a relationship began to take a quick and dramatic exit.
What she did not realize or understand about me is that I do my research before ever taking on a new client. The research was turning up a lot of nothing. There were companies who returned my calls for references, who would not comment. I decided I better take a few steps back. I went directly to “Maggie” and asked again the questions of integrity around her business. I told her I could not work with her if this is how she treats people. I then disclosed what I learned about her. Overnight I was deleted as that friend on her Facebook. No emails returned, and no longer acknowledge in Social Media. Turnaround time from that first phone call “Maggie” made to me, to deleting me from her life, just four short weeks.
What followed has surprised me. Or should it have surprised me? Other people in business have had the same thing happen to them. Some people, not so quick, to recognize it so soon. Those people also experiencing what I have experienced the days and now weeks that followed. I call it sideways bullying and harassing on Social Media, by a well-known Social Media individual. With that apparent influence people slip away quietly, as she has stated she can make or break a company with her influence. “Maggie” has even written and tweeted about bullying on Social Media. “Maggie” owns multiple Twitter accounts, and creates new ones faster than you can keep up. And each new account steps in and begins to defend her honor, and makes accusations against my character and integrity and seems to have “absolute spot on information” of me and my life.
This past weekend yet another new twitter handle jumps into the feed of a new community launch I am part of with five other women. One that has been in the planning stages since February. (Girlsfriends’ Hub) It was a twitter handle who was not a follower on my main twitter @elizonthego. This person jumps in with accusations.
“u were part of the other. u learned everything from “Maggie” and now u hijack and pretend u don't know her”
This sent to yet another twitter handle speaking of me……
“she isn't even hiding. easy to find info about her on her and all she is doing she has a trail
#dumb #smh #poser “
Apparently I should have reasons to hide and cover a trail. And again sent to now a total of three people…
“atty will need
#documented proof however it's right in front. Especially w pix of the
2 of them #hijacker #poser “
“I researched. u cheated. u r friends with “Maggie” and stole her ideas u r in pix w/ her
#shameonyou #SMH u lied to ME”
Apparently because I did not jump into this stream of crazy I am now a liar, and yes there were pictures of an event we both attended and there are pictures of me with Tony Curtis too from 15 years ago that are easy to find. I did not cover that trail either.
from what i c @girlfriendshub needs to be taken down if making any money it's fraudulence
just spoke w/ atty re: hub”
“my BFF is criminal defense atty. there is a case here.”
This is what sideways bullying looks like in real time. Screen shots from the content. What is interesting is the manner in which this individual jumped in, so radically to defend the very person who deleted me from their life over four weeks ago. Yet another person with some sort of knowledge of what I do, accusations of what I have done, and if you go back to the very first quote stating, “I learned everything from her.”
I have had a Social Media professional working with me since last winter. I had to let him know that someone else was taking credit of his hard work with me. “Maggie” did not teach me anything, yet apparently she taught me everything I know, as this person states.
Why am I now writing about this? What significance does this have today? Awareness.
Awareness of who people are before you step into business or friendship with them. In real time I have many friends in both business and personal. Having been a consultant and working directly with people for over 21 years has taught me how to discern the credibility of another. “Maggie” could not provide concrete answers to her business. As I began to share some of the friendships I had made on Twitter with “Maggie”, she warned me to stay far away from those people. Later I learned, like me, they too had uncovered her faux profiles and nature of her business practice. It was only many weeks later I learned this and addressed with “Maggie” what I now knew to be true.
Why not disclose the name of this person? “Maggie” does not need my help in exposing her. She has already exposed to enough people who live honorable lives and don’t need to be bullied or harassed any more than I do. In Social Media we all need to be aware of the practices of individuals. If something does not feel right it most likely is not. I went with my instincts and only had four weeks of history with this woman. It has been four weeks since that abrupt end and I am still being sideways bullied. Recently I spoke to someone about this incident. I asked what would be the best way to handle this situation. He said, “it takes a village.” I then called on my Social Media expert and mentor who is well esteemed in Social Media. I linked him on the screen shots, so he could see what I was dealing with. I did not want it to be a “she said, no she said” kind of thing. These are the facts, how do I handle this?
Awareness and education is how this begins to filter out of the streams. I am pretty quiet about these matters, but this weekend with the last exchange I showed my husband and he too said this needs to stop. It starts with someone boldly stepping out and making this kind of situation public, so others are aware. If you are being bullied on Social Media there are people who want to come around you and help you to send those people away. Trying to run someone off the roads of Social Media is wrong. Be aware of your surroundings. Stranger Danger is still a good thing to remember. Awareness is what keeps the fun in Social Media. Did “Maggie” run me off the road? No, of course not. I am approaching close to 50 years of age. I am a little tougher than that. What about the person who lacks that experience. I have to be honest. I got hot under the neck when I read that person’s tweets about me. I am a girl, and wanted to cry, but no, instead I reached out for help. I am writing this, and I am smiling.
It’s going to take more than this to remove me from the streams of Social Media. If you or someone you know is being bullied or harassed, you give that person more power to continue by not stepping forward and speaking up. If you need to have someone come alongside you to help out then ask. I had to ask. There is no shame in calling for help. In this case I linked someone to the tweets for accountability and to see first-hand that I was not just a girl having an emotional exchange of crazy. Do not allow anyone to run you off the road. Sideways bullying will begin to fade as people boldly step up and out into awareness.
May your life bless and honor those whom you do life with every day, Elizabeth