Monday, October 15, 2012

Sideways Bullying in Social Media

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.

name removed 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


  1. Hi. I thought that what I was doing would make it stop - but coming from the other side. Apologies.

  2. Hey girl apology accepted. Looking forward to our conversation.~elizabeth

  3. Bravo for posting this and getting the message out there. Bullying of any kind, whether it truly harms or damages or is just an annoyance, has no place in the social sphere. Kudos to you for documenting and turning to those you trust. High school is over, cheerleading to the masses while bullying behind backs is incredibly ugly and ridiculous when we've entered into adulthood.

  4. Mallie, Thank you for reading. Sadly this person has sent others into silence out of fear for assumed influence. Perhaps this post will give voice to one person to be removed from fear and into a confidence to speak up. ~elizabeth

  5. I love this! It is a fabulous article and so true on many levels. I have seen other comment with statements that are directed to someone without it being directly too them. It always makes me sad that people would treat others that way. Not to mention running a business where they are being deceitful to others. Props to you for being strong and posting this. Lisa Marie :)

  6. Thanks Lisa Marie~If it were just me that had this experience with "Maggie" I would have let it roll. It has only been through phone calls and emails of women being broken down by "Maggie". Young women who fear the "influence" and words that are used to threaten them, that now has me being more vocal. I am kind of like a mother-bear. There are many young Social Media users, myself included. It will continue. The reality of an "influence" using it to harass and threaten to run people off is wrong. "Maggie" had told many people that I had an affair, that she paid my way on a trip, that she rented my car, and provided me cloths, that I had run up a hotel bill. She has said, that I have "no monies to pay my way." My husband is kindly asking she NOT take credit for his love and care for his wife when she travels. I let all of that roll until this past week. Not one person, but several people who know me, my character have shared that she has done the same with them. In writing this blog, contacting me and phone conversations, this now gives those who just did not know, now have the boldness and confidence to step out of fear. I believe in writing this blog, and the realization that Maggie has the same MO they were no longer alone. Thx for commenting~elizabeth

    1. Dear "Maggie"
      Since I see you have read this, there is one thing you must know. Women genuinely care deeply for a heart that does the things you have done. It's not about what you are doing anymore. It's how what is in you that drives you to do this. One brave woman called me and we prayed for you over the phone. Why? Because, as I said in email to you, you have the blessing of working for a company that has given you a platform. Use it well and you will do well.

      We all have moments we are not proud of. Moments we have to go back and fix. When those moments become a habit that is when there is damage. The girly part of me, which I can thank my husband for, wanted to post the receipts of my week in LA. The manner inn which you were taking credit for my trip, purchasing my airline ticket,stating I have not close to wear, right down to my rental car, and then accusing me of running up a hotel bill is the worst thing that has ever happened to me from a thought to be colleague. Locking me out of a hotel room and then telling the story over and over of me having an affair is now exposed. Why?

      It has to stop. Sadly having spoken with a few other women you used the same accusation of an affair to hang over their heads, and they did go away for fear of it being repeated. Stop! Stop hurting these woman with your "influence". Stop using a platform of communication that has brought so many together in friendship. Sadly with each call or email I received I did not ever have to mention your name. People know. It's about time. I am just sorry I had to be the one to write this.

      Defamation of Character is harsh statement. Your words behind closed doors which cast shadows on the character of many. For the communities in Social Media it's not good business practice. Word of Mouth is your best advertiser. What words come out of your mouth in the dark and behind closed doors are now in the light. ~elizabeth

  7. Hurt people, hurt people. Maggie must have been very hurt in her lifetime. Maggie, this is what I would say to you:
    Look in the mirror and say today and every day to yourself...
    until you truly believe it
    I AM victorious, I am NOT a victim.
    I AM better, not bitter.
    I blame noone, instead, I take accountability for my own actions and choices.
    The only person I can change is myself.
    I will not look back, instead, I will look up and continue to move in a forward direction.
    I AM healed, not hurt.
    The world is beautiful and I want to instill beauty everywhere I go!

    Maggie, there is love waiting for you - you simply need to embrace it...

  8. Christelle, Your words are beautiful. ~elizabeth

  9. Wow! This is CRAZY! I am so sorry you went through this. I was bullied horribly in college by many women. Some later confessed to relieve their guilt. But THIS is really scary stuff. I just met you. You are truly an angel and a very powerful woman. For that I am truly grateful. Huge HUGS from Pasadena!

    1. Thanks so much Susan for reading. The more time I spend online and in Social Media I find that the mama bear I am in real time also now comes out online. You are truly a sweetheart and blessed to have you stop by.~elizabeth

  10. In my opinion, confronting people like that only serves to ignite their inner demons and makes you their target. People can be evil. Not everyone wants you to succeed, it's a shame. Rather than ask her repeatedly who sponsored her, etc, the situation may have been dodged by telling her you had other applications to review and you would get back to her. Then, send her an email apologizing that you were unable to take new clients at this time. Some women just aren't mentally stable and when your gut tells you so, run haha. One of the things I use to gauge whether I want to associate with someone is how often they talk about themselves. If its all about them them them, I distance myself. That usually signifies a low emotional EQ. I hope you can somehow report her to Twitter. It's not right what she's doing to you.

    1. Thanks so much for taking time to read. It has been several months since this post was written. One thing, a gift of many that came from this situation is the friendship, deep and meaningful that have come. A gift in the midst of a bit of crazy. The other thing is that I was still fairly new to Social Media, and in face to face time am easily able to discern the character and honesty of a person. Very different in Social Media. Thus my skills have been sharpening making my online experiences much more rewarding. Does this continue? Of course it will. As long as someone can hind behind a screen it will happen. You are right...listen to your guy. Surprising my husband within 24 hours of the first phone call had a strong idea of what I was dealing with. Thanks again for stopping in and commenting, Elizabeth


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