Whether we’re blogging for fun or to enhance our online profile, we need to realize we can also expose ourselves to scrutiny,cyber bullying, law suits and even death threats.
The higher the profile of the blogger, the higher the chances of being targeted.
Although these are topics we may not want to think about, I feel it’s important we’re informed.
In 2007 Kathy Siearra, a popular blogger and author, canceled speaking engagements when she began getting death threats. The threats appeared on her blog, plus on the blogs of others.
In January of 2009, Michael Arrington the founder of TechCrunch wrote an article of how he was spit at. In the same post, he disclosed how he had also received death threats in 2008. Needing time to reflect, he took a month off from blogging.
Then there was the sad story of the young girl in Missouri (USA) who committed suicide after making friends with someone on MySpace. According to this New York Times article, the girl received an email which stated, ““The world would be a better place without you.”. Shortly after that, she took her own life.
In January of 2009 a lawsuit in California was settled after a patient posted a negative review about a doctor on Yelp (an online forum). The parties came to a mutual agreement, however, it raised the debate of how to protect not only the right of free speech but also the reputation of businesses.
In December of 2008 Pete Cashmore of Mashable.com wrote a post warning those on Twitter titled, Twitter Lawsuits: 4 Reasons Your Tweets Might Be Trouble, explaining how what you write on Twitter could get you into a courtroom.
According to MediaLaw.org, as of February 23, 2009, bloggers who have been sued have been ordered to pay over $16,000,000.00. This site lists summaries of multiple lawsuits against bloggers – well worth the read.
Granted, in most cases blogging will remain a fun and enjoyable activity and we won’t “make headlines”, however, we need to be aware we’re not as safe as we may think.
Have you ever been bullied on line? If so, how did you handle it?
Knowing this is just the tip of the iceberg for law suits against bloggers, death threats and cyber bullying, how would you suggest we minimize being a target?
If you were targeted, would you quit blogging?
Please feel free to share your thoughts.
P.S. A great resource for preventing cyber bullying is Cyberbully.org – Center For Safe and Responsible Internet Use.
Photo Credit: blakeemrys